By Frank Stanko
NDSCS president said student retention and enrollment primary focus in upcoming years
North Dakota State College of Science's President Dr. John Richman proudly announced in his State of the College address Thursday that the school has improved from 98 percent to over 99 percent in its career placement rate for students.
“As I represent you across the country, you make my job very easy, and I really do appreciate everything that you do for students and all your work to help the state of North Dakota continue to thrive in a social-economic position,” Richman said.
Richman explained a 3 percent rise in overall enrollment in terms of “buckets.”
“When I went to school here in 1971, there was only one bucket. Now we have five. We diversified our population, our students. We’re reaching more students and more diversified students. Used to be a 4 to 1 ratio, men to women, in 1971. That number is almost 50-50 now. Our students are getting older because we’re diversifying. All of that is good,” Richman said.
“We have NDSCS Wahpeton; we have dual credit, that's a high school student that's taking our college course; we have a hybrid, a student that's receiving their instructions in multiple ways or from multiple locations, so they might be in Fargo and Wahpeton, they might be online and in Wahpeton; then, of course, we have Fargo and last, but not least is our online (courses),” he said.
There was a significant increase in hybrid students, Richman said.
“We now have 500 of our students receiving their instructions in more than one way,” he said. And Fargo saw the biggest growth, 42 percent, compared to a 6 percent decline from last year for Wahpeton. According to Richman, there are approximately 300 students in Fargo compared to an official enrollment of 1,300 for Wahpeton.The number of online students has remained solid at 200, he said.
What Richman said NDSCS needs to work on, is Wahpeton's capacity, but he said a way to improve that is through not only marketing and recruitment, but continued efforts in retention. He praised the Student Success division, whose “efforts are paying off tremendously.”
“In a two year period, our retention rate grew 12 percent. We went from 60-some percent to over 70. That's a tremendous gain in a short period of time,” he said.
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