Converse announces another year of record enrollment as the campus welcomes 275 new students for the 2015-16 year. The College expects 5% growth in total undergraduate enrollment over last year, contributing to a total of 30% growth over the last five years and marking the highest traditional undergraduate enrollment in more than a quarter of a century. As students return, they will see new programs, increased efficiencies in service, and cross-departmental collaborations that enhance their educational experience rolling out from every area of the campus – all designed to best prepare them for professional and personal success.
“We are proving that colleges can think differently about their educational product, and that it is possible to stop dramatic upward-spiral in cost while improving the quality of student experiences and outcomes.”
Enrollment growth has been positively impacted over the last two years by Converse’s 43% reduction in tuition price to address higher education affordability. The move attracted national attention, and was part of a multi-year strategic planning process to maximize student outcomes, increase market relevance in terms of preparing students for personal and professional success, and deliver a high quality education in cost-effective manner.
“We are proving that colleges can think differently about their educational product, and that it is possible to stop dramatic upward-spiral in cost while improving the quality of student experiences and outcomes,” said President Betsy Fleming.
To that end, Converse faculty and staff spent the last year examining every aspect of the College’s operations, focusing on how to best serve students. “We have wrestled with dramatic change for more than six years—digging deep into data and trends to understand Converse’s distinctive position, making bold moves and sometimes difficult decisions to realize opportunity and possibility. Such responsiveness has become a necessity for all higher education institutions,” Fleming said.
The results of this work are paying off. While the national college trend is a decreasing percentage of accepted students who actually enroll, Converse increased its yield for this year. “We are thrilled to see the continued increase in students choosing our women’s college experience at Converse. Campus housing is nearing capacity this year, so we will be working on solutions to make way for continued growth next fall!”
NEW for Converse Students This Year
Ranging from the mundane to the expansive, new strategies and initiatives emanate from every department on campus. Among the most transformative are:
- Enhanced use of technology to replace traditional paper processes
- A new conceptual framework for the School of the Arts that expands students’ professional preparation
- A Student Development and Success Division replacing the former Student Life Division, with integrated focus on professional and personal development
- Replacement of traditional student work-study with a professionalized Student Employment program in which students apply and are selected for campus jobs based on their interests and skills
- New Undergraduate Majors and Academic Programs:
- BMA degree program in Contemporary Music/Media Applications (pending accreditor approval)
- BA degree program in Healthcare Administration (pending accreditor approval)
- Music Business and Technology certificate program
- Business Professional Development certificate program (spring 2016)
- Arts and Cognition certificate program
- New NCAA Diviion II Softball program
Numerous additional initiatives are underway across the campus, with the plan to be fully implemented by fall 2016. Expected outcomes include:
- Greater efficiencies and effectiveness in our work with students (prospective and current), alumni, friends and community partners.
- Graduates who are even better prepared for personal and professional success.
- Increased collaborations and cross-divisional teamwork, enhancing all aspects of our work from performing arts productions to behind-the-scenes operations.
- Ongoing introduction of new academic and co-curricular programs as deemed appropriate and beneficial.
- Expanding student populations.
“As we grow, we must ensure that Converse continues to offer an exceptional and customized learning experience—activating students’ unique voice, deepening their sense of value, and developing their vision to make a difference in the world,” said President Betsy Fleming.
The 2015 Incoming Class In Brief
The incoming class hails from 24 states and one foreign country. They have a collective GPA of 3.91; among them are a valedictorian and three salutatorians; and 19% are in the top tenth of their graduating classes. The class also brings other diverse qualities:
- 81 are student-athletes,
- 7 are daughters of Converse alumnae,
- 47 participated in National Honor Society,
- 46 were in Beta club,
- 35 were involved in theatre or musical theatre,
- 12 were part of chorus,
- 10 were part of the National Art Honor Society,
- and others participated in Girl’s State, as Teacher Cadets, in French Club, on Yearbook and Newspaper staff, in Band, on Drill Team, and many more organizations.