CURRENT AND PAST ISSUES OF THE COLLEGIAN AVAILABLE ONLINE - GO TO CMU WEBSITE C entral M ethodist U niversity • F ayette , M o . Vol. 141 • No. 3 • September 11, 2013 • www.centralmethodist.edu Campus enrollment down Growth in graduate and off-campus programs said to more than offset the decline in Fayette. For the first time in several years, enrollment on the main Central Methodist University campus here has declined. Officially, the traditional on-campus program in Fayette is known as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). The student CLAS population is now 1,107, still the fourth-highest figure in CMU history. (The on-campus enrollment has been higher in each of the previous three years which were all-time records.) The figures for 2013-14 reflect a drop of 5.6 percent. Freshman class enrollment is down slightly but remains fairly strong. However, many observers note that CMU’s rate of student retention is a cause for concern. And like all colleges and universities across the state, there is a smaller “pool” of graduating high school seniors from which to recruit students. On a happier note, CMU’s preliminary overall enrollment figures are strong statewide, with growth in graduate and off-campus programs more than offsetting the decline on the main campus in Fayette. As of Aug. 28, total enrollment was 3,485, up 5.9 percent (193 students) from the same time last year, according to CMU President Roger Drake. Figures do not include late-starting classes includ- ing the high school dual credit program, called First Class. University officials predict final enrollment to be in the range of 5,500 or above. Undergraduate enrollment in CMU’s largely off-campus College of Graduate and Extended Studies (CGES) grew by 12.6 percent to 2,191, up from 1,945 last year. Graduate programs gained 7.5 percent, to 187 students, according to Dr. Rita Gulstad, vice president and dean of the university. A natural result of previous record enrollments has been CMU’s large graduating classes. It has been a challenge for the university to replace its own graduates with new students, especially in an era when the number of Missouri high school graduates has been declining, according to Ken Oliver, CMU vice president for institutional growth and student engagement. While the number of first-time, full-time freshmen fell by 3.6 percent, Oliver said, it is nonetheless a strong class. The average ACT score went from 21.9 last year to 22.0 this year, and their average grade point average jumped to 3.47, from 3.40 last year. Another positive was the transfer student population, which grew by 3.8 percent. CMU officials plan to increase efforts to attract transfer students, Drake noted. Eagle’s Nest renovation: Loss or a gain for CMU? By JANE GONZALEZ-MEYER COLLEGIAN REPORTER As one chapter draws to an end, another began on CMU’s campus when a decision was made to convert the Eagle’s Nest into offices. Located beneath Holt Hall, the Eagle’s Nest served as a meeting room for students and organizations to host events such as Bingo, Inscape release parties, and Core ALLiance meetings. Now this space is used as office space for the booming online program. According to Julee Sherman, vice president for finance and administration, CMU’s senior staff decided late last semester to convert the Eagle’s Nest because the online program had expanded and its staff needed the office space. She said that it was logical to place the new offices next to Admissions, which is also located beneath Holt Hall. Rita Gulstad, vice president and dean of the university, confirmed the change, and noted how online programs are now in such demand. In the fall of 2011, only 470 students were taking online courses, and there were 50 online classes offered. In the spring of 2013, the numbers doubled, with 832 students enrolled in online courses and 100 online classes available. According to Gulstad, 40 percent of CMU students are taking online classes this semester, so more office space is necessary. With this conversion, she suggests that these offices will provide students a specific location they can go to discuss their online options with a staff member, as well as a chance to consider the courses they might take. Although this renovation was apparently needed for the expanding online program, many students and faculty were sad to see it go. Senior Mariah Furman, vice president of Core ALLiance (the gay/straight alliance group on campus), was upset to see it happen because that was where meetings were held last semester. “Now we don’t know where to go. We have to move meetings to the fourth floor of the Student Center, which feels too formal.” Dr. Kavita Hatwalkar, professor of English as well as advisor for both Core ALLiance and Inscape, stated that “it is important for students to have a space to congregate and feel comfortable at the same time. Although the conference center is great, it sometimes feels a little formal for student meetings.” She went on to say that “faculty advisors for student groups weren’t informed about the conversion… I was disappointed (Continued on Page 2) STANDING TALL CMU Spirit Squad cheerleaders strike a pose Thursday evening (Sept. 5) in front of the Howard County Courthouse with a pep rally to kick-off the university’s football season. Game results and additional photo on inside pages of The Collegian.