After several years of declining enrollment numbers, Miles Community College is beginning to show signs of reversing the trend.
Speaking at Monday’s monthly meeting of the MCC Board of Trustees, Vice President of Student Success Jessie Dufner said application numbers for this spring and next fall are very encouraging.
“We’re very excited about it. We have a lot of people who are working very hard on the enrollment issue,” Dufner said. “To see the tide shift a little bit is a really positive thing.”
Dufner said MCC is benefitting from a variety of different programs, especially the Dual Enrollment program with Custer County District High School and the American College Testing Educational Opportunity Service System. A recruiting tool, the ACT EOS system allows colleges to purchase the contact information of high school seniors from around the country who may be a good fit at a particular school.
“Our Dual Enrollment program is becoming very popular among high school students. It’s a great way for students to start,” Dufner said. “And for Full-Time Equivalent students, we are at 352, which is 12 more this spring compared to last. We also had fewer students withdraw this spring compared to last year as well, and that’s always a good sign that students are comfortable where they’re at.
“For fall, we’re really utilizing the ACT EOS system for students from North and South Dakota,” she said. “We also launched an online application last summer, and we’re really seeing the benefits of that. We’re hoping to get 350 applicants by August 20, which would be an increase of 65 students.”
MCC President Stacy Klippenstein said the latest enrollment numbers are indicative of the work MCC is doing to market the school as a great place to begin a college career.
“We started experiencing some growth going into spring semester, and that’s the work of the enrollment team,” he said. “The last two months we’ve really been looking at some strategies at enhancing our enrollment for the fall, and there are some really good things in place, such as using the ACT EOS System. Once fall enrollment numbers start coming in, which will be soon, we can begin to track with the previous year, and that will be very helpful.”
Klippenstein also said the college should greatly benefit from the revamped Heavy Equipment and Commercial Driver’s License programs, including the new simulator.
“Having those programs is something MCC is now beginning to get recognized for,” he said. “Plus, having the simulators coming on-line and the two faculty members we have, that’s going to be a great market for us.”
Also on the agenda of Monday’s meeting was Klippenstein’s President’s Report, including updates on the proposed Ag Advancement Center and the recent Board of Regents meeting.
“Marilynn Miller, fundraising consultant and former CEO and president of the Montana State University Billings Foundation is on campus March 24-25,” Klippenstein said. “She will be assisting the Ag Advancement Center Committee and Endowment Board with fundraising plans for the project.”
The Board of Regents meeting was held March 6-7 in Great Falls and featured recognition of MCC students Jackee Idland and Lena Sleight for their achievements at MCC and their work with the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. Both students were present at Monday’s meeting and were recognized by the board.
“Both Jackee and Lena had the opportunity to speak in front of the Regents and did a wonderful job,” he said. “They are fantastic ambassadors for MCC.”
Klippenstein also recognized MCC basketball coaches Liz Lewis and Chase Tait for their efforts on and off the court this past season.
“Coach Lewis and Coach Tait continue to put a competitive team on the court and in the classroom,” he said.
In Human Resources news, Diane Schweigert has been hired as a new part-time dining aide. The Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education interviews were conducted earlier this month. The Academic Affairs Technician position closed March 21; the search committee is scheduled to meet this week to review applications and schedule interviews.