HOUGHTON - Michigan Technological University's strategic plan has three main goals. The first goal strives to create and provide a world-class and diverse faculty, staff and student population. As part of that goal, the university has made a distinct effort to attract different groups of people, including women and underrepresented minorities.
As part of a campus forum Tuesday afternoon, Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz presented faculty, staff, students and a live streaming audience with information about the state of Michigan Tech. He briefly reviewed items such as the strategic plan, budget and balance sheet that will be discussed in further detail during the board of control meeting Thursday before moving on to the subject of enrollment.
Although the numbers will not be official until December, as it stands enrollment for 2013 is nearly the same as 2012, with 1,354 graduate students in 2013 compared to 1,322 in 2012 and 5,617 undergraduate students as compared to 5,623, for total enrollment numbers of 6,976 students in 2013 and 6,945 in 2012.
Meagan Stilp/Daily Mining Gazette
First-year students gather for a welcome picnic at Michigan Technological University in August. While enrollment numbers have changed very little since last year, Tech has seen a steady increase in undergraduate and graduate female students and underrepresented minority students.
"We did pretty well here just staying even," Mroz said. "Especially in a state where we're decreasing the number of high school graduates."
Within those enrollment numbers Mroz pointed out increases in female students, domestic student diversity and international student diversity.
"The thing to keep in mind as you look at the increases in the number of women and these (student diversity) increases is that if we hadn't started to work on these things collectively, we wouldn't be looking at increasing in these numbers and in fact we'd be looking at decreases in student numbers," Mroz said. "So we didn't start this too soon by any stretch of the imagination and it's something we have to keep working on over time."
Through a concentrated effort to attract women and underrepresented minorities the percentage of each group has grown in the student body. Overall, 6.8 percent of domestic students represent minorities and 22 percent of students are either international or underrepresented minorities. Female enrollment in the College of Engineering, and overall, has steadily increased.
"When you look at female engineering enrollment we're starting, through a lot of the efforts that so many people put in, to really make difference not only in the complexion of Michigan Tech but also the gender balance of Michigan Tech, which is a really good thing," Mroz said.
"This does not come by accident by any stretch of the imagination but through the hard work of a number of people throughout the departments and students across campus who spend time calling other students and also because of a marketing campaign specifically designed to attract women to Michigan Tech."
However, Tech does not stop at simply recruiting students, Mroz said. They have also begun to focus on efforts to increase retention and improve each student's experience when he or she is at Michigan Tech. While there have been many changes to make the student experience better, Mroz mentioned efforts such as attempting to balance male and female tenure-track faculty, increasing classroom technology, remodeling classroom, library and outdoor spaces and consolidating departments such as financial aid to make the process easier for students.
"Getting students to Michigan Tech is one thing, making sure they're successful and keeping them here is quite another." Mroz said.