With Miles Community College on its holiday break, encouraging enrollment numbers and the anticipation of a new president have school officials feeling the Christmas spirit.
Speaking at Monday’s monthly meeting of the MCC Board of Trustees, Vice President of Student Success and Institutional Research Jessie Dufner and Dean of Enrollment Management and Educational Support Services Erin Niedge outlined for the board enrollment tendencies and marketing strategies.
“Our admission applications for spring semester are a little higher than they were last year, which is always good,” Dufner said. “We’re also working quite a bit with area high schools to participate in our dual enrollment program as well. We have two SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) sessions scheduled, one on Tuesday and one in January for new students, which will be well attended. You always hope for a little increase in enrollment, but if we can maintain our numbers from last year, which it looks like we will be able to do, it would be a good start.”
MCC Interim President Lisa Watson said administrators and faculty have been brainstorming different ideas than in the past to get students through the door, and are pleased so far with the results.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to be able to maintain the level of enrollment we have now, and continue to build upon it,” she said.
Looking ahead to fall semester, Dufner said the school has developed an aggressive marketing and recruitment plan to attract prospective students. Initial numbers, though not set in stone, indicate fall enrollment numbers could be the strongest MCC has seen in three years.
“Applications are tracking a lot higher,” she said. “They are almost double of what they were last year at this time, and we continue to attend college fairs to recruit. Along with that, we are looking at all of our marketing options, including print, radio and television. Our TV ad has been redone and is now running on Mid-Rivers, as well as KTVQ out of Billings.”
Dufner said with the quality of programs now offered at MCC, both in traditional programs and workforce development, students would do well to consider the school an excellent place to begin their collegiate career.
“With a new president coming on and the strong commitment from our faculty and staff, I think the future of MCC has never looked brighter,” she said. “We have a lot of successful programming going on here, credits are solid and our cost is competitive. The value and quality a student can get here is second to none. we have a talented group on campus that can provide a true comprehensive educational experience.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board thanked Watson for serving as interim president the last eight months. Watson called the experience a rewarding one, and she’s excited about the direction MCC is heading. She praised the faculty, staff and board for their commitment to the school and its students.
“I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything,” Watson said. “It was a good opportunity to look at things personally from a career perspective. The college took a chance on me, and for that I’m very appreciative. It’s just been a lot of fun.”