Enrollment at DWU breaks university’s record; retention highest in years
Friday, August 30, 2013
Dakota Wesleyan University has come to realize it’s not always about how many students you draw in, it’s every bit as important to keep the ones you’ve got.
DWU’s enrollment for the 2013 fall semester is looking to be the highest it has ever been with numbers coming in this week at 873 enrolled students, of those 170 freshmen.
This year’s enrollment surpasses the university’s all-time record in 1966 of 850 students and President Amy Novak gives a lot of credit back to the university staff, as well as the new science facility, which was dedicated Thursday.
“We have a solid incoming freshman class, but we are just as excited to see that our returning students have enjoyed their experience here, which is reflected in our record retention numbers,” Novak said.
Final counts for enrollment and retention won’t be in until later into September, after the final drop date, but going by current numbers DWU’s retention of freshman to sophomore students has reached 77 percent, which is a jump from five years ago when it was 57 percent. Retention is calculated by the number of the previous year’s freshmen who returned as sophomores.
“The entire campus has come together to bring that number to where it should be,” Novak said. “Our student life department has taken a lead on giving students activities throughout the week, encouraging students to stay on campus on weekends and get involved; our coaches have recruited stellar student-athletes who want to succeed in education as much as they do on the court or field, and as a university we have been more intentional in giving students opportunities to meet and volunteer with staff and faculty, building relationships.
“We also have a brand new science facility that we dedicated Thursday, and considering the majority of our student body is majoring in the sciences or medical fields, we know we have gained some students the past two years with the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center as a draw, and retained some students this year who were attracted by the state-of-the-art facilities.”
As well this year, DWU launched a new M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership and expanded its degree completion program for registered nurses with associate’s degrees.
“We are excited about these online offerings and the growing interest in these programs by adults examining ways to improve their skills and strengthen their opportunities for employment advancement,” Novak said.
The campus dedicated the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center on Thursday with more than 650 campus and community members in attendance. The $11.5 million facility is four stories, 48,000 square feet, and has chemistry labs, biology labs, research labs and four nursing simulation labs, as well as classrooms and faculty offices.
DWU is a private, liberal arts university associated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. For more information about Dakota Wesleyan University, go to www.dwu.edu.