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Engaging a Diverse Student Body Seattle’s CityU employs a three-step process to recruit and retain a diverse student body.


s an institution focused on serving the working adult and transfer student, City University of Seattle (CityU) has developed some best practices for recruiting and retaining a diverse student body—a daunting task in today’s market. Here are three ways CityU is achieving this goal: 1. Communicating Often and Clearly When recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, it is extremely important to create an academic atmosphere that fosters clear and open communication. Prioritizing student achievement and service, and putting policies in place that require a 24-hour follow-up to all communications, is necessary to recruiting and retaining students today. Hosting a chat feature on the university’s website and carefully leveraging social media also enhance conversation between students and their current or potential university. Open communication is vital to growing any relationship. The relationship with a prospective or current student is no different. 2. Making Education Affordable and Accessible As the job market continues to demand higher levels of education, the cost of that education continues to increase. To recruit and retain a diverse student body, universities must offer affordable and flexible learning options that meet the needs of full-time workers, parents, transitioning veterans, and others trying to balance work, life, and school. Convenient onsite and online options, as well as competency-based modalities (offering credit for experience) and need-based scholarships, are crucial to meeting the modern student’s needs and thus, are essential to recruitment and retention. CityU offers competency-based education as a way for students to demonstrate

“According to recent reports, 60 percent of job openings will require

a college degree in four years. Considering the number of people that do not have this prerequisite, college classrooms are filled with what was once called ‘nontraditional students.’ At CityU, we recognize that students have families, careers, financial obligations, and lives beyond what is happening in the classroom. The diversity of student needs, skills, and experience begs universities like ours to offer more flexible and affordable learning options. In offering these options, universities are bound to see improvements in their recruitment and retention efforts.” – Marianne Fingado, Vice President of Enrollment at City University of Seattle (and get credit for) what they already know, so they can spend time taking classes that teach them new things. After all, students expect to attend a university to learn what they do not know, and gain the skills and knowledge they do not have. 3. Offering an Education that is Relevant to People’s Lives There is inherent value in getting an education. However, in today’s world, education is often judged by how it can be applied. With the high cost of education, students are actively looking for schools and degrees that will help them find and grow a career. Offering a curriculum informed and taught by professionals who are leaders in their respective fields, enables students to grow professionally and academically, while getting a degree. By taking this approach, CityU supports the career success and overall satisfaction of its students, and has definitely enhanced its recruitment and retention efforts. These are just a few of the recruitment and retention tactics that have been employed by City University of Seattle. We hope these tactics are useful to you as you pursue your university’s recruitment and retention objectives, and look to improve student satisfaction. PDJ May/June 2014




Diversity Journal - May/Jun 2014