Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Rediscovering Who We Serve
March 11, 2022
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) issued its 2022 Fast Facts for community colleges, which shows that 39% of all U.S. undergraduates are community college students, and 65% of those students attend part-time. Additionally, AACC reports that 72% of these part-time students work, inclusive of one-third who work full time. WCC’s enrollment shifted in an important way since the onset of the pandemic: we are now a majority part-time institution with Fall 2021 part-time enrollment at 52.1%. What do you think this means for our myriad programs and services to keep students on track toward their academic and career goals?
These are just some of the trends that are emerging amid enrollment declines at community colleges. WCC has not been isolated from these trends, and our serious drop in enrollment requires immediate collective action. Our annual strategic planning summit on the morning of Friday, April 1, will focus on enrollment planning as we take last fall’s RISE summit to the next level. We will take a deeper dive into our enrollment and retention data and strategies to understand better who we serve, how that is changing, and where we can expand and innovate for enrollment growth. An Inside Higher Ed article, “Seeing Students for Who They Are and Where They’ve Been,” examines results from a recent Student Voice Survey and might help us become more proficient in seeking innovative ways to target specific programs and interventions for the segment of students who need them. Information on the summit will be announced by Creative Communications.
As we prepare to spring forward into spring break, please alert students – especially those so close to completing their degrees and certificates – that there is still time to register for our 7.5 week session that begins on March 21. Additionally, summer 2022 registration is underway with four sessions offered starting May 23.
We have been through very challenging times, yet we have found many new opportunities to help our students achieve their educational goals and provide pathways to economic mobility. We truly are building minds and building futures.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles