Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Administrative Failure 103: The Never-Ending Saga of Enrollment Management. Or, How to Make Chicago State the Worst Performing Public University in Seven States

Perhaps this is becoming redundant, but I have additional material that underscores the colossal failure of the Watson administration, something that our current board cares nothing about. This school’s enrollment performance is simply a disgrace, how serious our situation is should become even clearer given the objective measure of our ongoing enrollment debacle. However, before I get into the data, I want to say emphatically that I believe this university can be turned around if someone in the state in a position of responsibility cares. We need a new, truly autonomous board of trustees who will select a distinguished president with a scholarly record, four-year university administrative experience and some understanding of what is required of faculty engaged in teaching, research and service. That will assuredly not happen in this political climate, with this board of trustees.

I have extended my comparative analysis of Chicago State’s enrollment problems to include the following samples: 1) the 12 schools in 8 states that constitute our “peer” institutions; 2) all the non-research public universities in states contiguous to Illinois: Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa. This adds 57 schools to our sample (three in Indiana for some reason have no enrollment data past 2011), bringing the total to 63 schools and 2 university systems (Illinois and Southern Illinois), providing 62 other examples of enrollment management. Of the 63 schools in 15 states, only data from 2010-12 is available for 44, with 19 schools having released current enrollment data.

From 2010-12, Chicago State saw its enrollment shrink by 17 percent. This is the worst performance of all 44 schools during that time period. Only three other schools experienced enrollment drops of better than 10 percent, with a 14.2 percent decline being the second poorest enrollment performance. Overall, enrollment at these 44 schools increased by 2322 students, or .006 percent.

From 2010-13, Chicago State’s enrollment (still changing daily, although minimally) decline of 24.2 percent again leads the pack of 19 schools. Only two of the other schools saw their enrollments decline by better than 10 percent, with the current runner-up showing a 16 percent decrease. Overall enrollment in these 19 schools has dropped by 2.5 percent, or a total of 8914 students. Chicago State’s drop of 1784 students during this three-year period represents 20 percent of the total decline, that from a school with 1.6 percent of the student population.

To summarize, of the 63 schools in this sample, Chicago State has been the worst performing school in terms of enrollment, in both two- and three-year measures. Does anyone want to make the argument that this is a satisfactory performance? Is this what we should expect from the president? From the highly-paid administrators in Enrollment Management? Is this all that our students deserve? Is it time to send this flim-flam administration packing? The board’s decision on Friday made that less likely, but I do not believe it is impossible. What do you think?

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