Indiana Wesleyan University President Dr. David Wright announced a new program to curb the university’s declining enrollment numbers at the town hall meeting in IWU’s Philippe Performing Arts Center Oct. 6.
Wright began the meeting with news that IWU’s undergraduate enrollment at the Marion campus has declined over the last three years enough to cause concern among the administration. In the fall of 2011, IWU had just over 3,300 students enrolled at the residential campus. This fall, there are just over 2,900 undergraduate students taking classes at the residential campus.
Wright expressed his concern about this decline and announced a plan to fix the issue called the Three-Year Pilot Program.
One aspect of the program is an update to the church-matching scholarship. The previous ruling of the scholarship stated that IWU will match a scholarship granted from the student’s home church up to $900.
The update states that students of the Wesleyan denomination can now earn up to $1,500 to match and all other non-Wesleyan denominations can now earn up to $1,000.
“The Three-Year Pilot Program will let us aggressively promote the residential campus to the public and to our key communities from which we want to recruit students,” Wright said.
Wright also stressed there will be some major advancements in a few of the university’s current programs.
First of all, the university’s board of trustees approved a new Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree, which will launch in the summer of 2016.
Along with the advancement in the ministry program, some other developing initiatives for the Three-Year Pilot Program include International Recruitment and an Ivy Tech Partnership.
The Board of Trustees will be making major advancements in the health sciences department between now and 2025. The university plans to add 24 new programs to the health sciences department, including Doctor of Physical Therapy, Biomedical Sciences and Doctor of Optometry degrees.
Over the last five years, the addition of programs–such as Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Music Therapy, Master of Public Health and Health Care Administration–have increased enrollment, with just over 400 students enrolled in the 2014 fall semester.
“We clearly have gotten enrollment that we would not have gotten otherwise [due to new programs],” said Wright. “The key is to build these programs so that we capitalize on the links that are possible between undergraduate programs and graduate programs.”
Wright believes IWU will be seeing many more “three-plus-two” programs where students complete three years of undergraduate school and two years of a master’s program.
IWU proposed many new educational options at the meeting. The university is taking advantage of its many options to improve to move forward academically.