Enrollment climbing in College of Ed

New students take the field to celebrate Welcome Days 2019
New Huskies take the field to celebrate Welcome Days 2019.

NIU’s official 10-day enrollment numbers showed encouraging gains for the College of Education.

The college welcomed 1,186 undergraduates and 1,196 graduate students this fall; both totals are higher than the same time last year, lifting the college’s headcount to 2,382.

It comes as the university celebrates 1,897 new freshmen (up 2 percent) and 1,611 new transfer students (also up 2 percent). NIU’s total enrollment stands at 16,609, and should remain about the same next year before beginning to climb in the fall of 2021 if projections hold true.

Dean Laurie Elish-Piper is pleased with the college’s success.

“We worked very hard to build up our recruitment and marketing efforts to get the good word out about our great programs, and we’re very excited to see our enrollment numbers are up this year,” Elish-Piper says.

Laurie Elish-Piper
Laurie Elish-Piper

“We’re specifically excited to see that at the undergraduate level,” she adds. “For several years, those enrollment numbers have been trending down, so it’s very exciting to see that the curve has turned and is now moving up.”

Helping the positive trend are the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education’s new bachelor’s degree in Sport Management, which enrolled 66 students – 32 percent more than projected.

The program builds on NIU’s two decades of expertise at the graduate level by offering undergraduates the opportunity to learn more about, develop skills and experiences in and pursue their passions for working in the sport industry.

Meanwhile, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education program now includes 15 students in the new 2+2 option offered at Elgin Community College.

NIU professors are traveling to Elgin to teach courses from the professional semesters and supervise the licensure candidates in their field experiences in their hometown School District U-46. Others are delivering the curriculum in a hybrid format.

“I’m really grateful to our wonderful faculty and staff for the hard work they’ve done in developing these innovative programs,” Elish-Piper says.

David Walker
David Walker

The college also employed systematic strategies to boost enrollment, says David Walker, associate dean for Academic Affairs.

“As a recruitment strategy for new freshmen students and new transfer students, we worked with departments and degree programs to communicate and market with these potential College of Education students who had been admitted and confirmed for fall semester,” Walker says.

On the retention side, the dean’s team engaged in similar communications and marketing and also partnered with the college’s Business Office and the NIU Financial Aid and Scholarship Office to offer retention scholarships to high-achieving, returning students to assist in paying down some of their fiscal responsibilities.

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