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    Challenges and Opportunities

    Facing Rural Community Colleges

    Randy Smith, Ph.D.

    President, Rural Community College Alliance

    Altus, Oklahoma

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    Overview

    Lots of information, a short amount of time!

    Need your participation

    This presentation should facilitate networkingamong participants after the conference

    Explore some challenges

    Explore some opportunities (what we do well)

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    Challenges

    List the two or three most important

    challenges facing your college

    List two or three challenges facing your rural

    community

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    Rural Demographics

    Socio-economic status of rural communities

    Typically poorer

    Less access to healthcare

    Lack of growth/poor economy/low paying jobs

    Decreasing number of high school graduates

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    Rural Demographics

    Declining rural population

    WOSC service area population

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    Rural Demographics

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    Rural Demographics

    Palm beach County School District will

    experience a DECREASE of4,145 high school

    students from 2008 to 2013.

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    Rural Demographics

    Is your service area decreasing inpopulation?

    Is the enrollment at your college flator decreasing?

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    Challenges

    What is the most important challenge/factor

    facing the rural community college?

    ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT!

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    Enrollment Management

    The most important factor affecting rural two-

    year institutions

    Who is responsible for enrollment

    management at your institution?

    Who shouldbe involved with E.M.

    at your institution?

    Do you have a defined E.M Plan

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    The Problem

    Flat or decreasing enrollment in communitycolleges

    Greater competition for a smaller pool of high

    school graduates and non-traditional students Lack of research on rural community colleges

    Financial consequences of falling enrollment

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    The Challenge for

    Rural Community Colleges

    Increase enrollment at rural two-year colleges.

    How?

    What do students want in a college?

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    Four Categories of Factors that

    Influence Decision to Enroll

    Student Services

    (On-Campus Housing and Childcare,College Sponsored Sports)

    Academic Issues (Transferability of Credits, Academic Reputation)

    Marketing

    (Distance, Campus Appearance)

    Personal Issues

    (Cost of Tuition, Family Influence)

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    Conceptual Framework

    Independent Variables Dependent Variable

    Student Servicesa. On-Campus Housing

    b. On-Campus Childcare

    c. Sponsored Team Sports

    Academic Issuesa. Transferability of Credits

    b. Academic Reputation

    Marketinga. Campus Appearance

    b. Distance of college to residence

    Personal Issuesa. Family Influence

    b. Cost

    Decision to Enroll

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    Activity

    Please rank the following factors in the order

    YOU think students most desire in a rural two-

    year college.

    Family input, Transferability, Academicreputation, Driving distance, Campus

    appearance, Housing, Team sports, On-campus childcare, Cost

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    Factors Influencing Enrollment

    Survey of 831 Students at 8 Rural Two-Year

    Colleges

    Average age: 29.3

    Average Miles Driven to Attend College: 25

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    What does this mean?

    Do you focus on academic reputation and

    quality of instruction?

    Do you require faculty to be involved in

    recruitment?

    Is your campus well maintained, clean and

    attractive?

    Do you have a written E.M plan involving all

    areas of the college?

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    What does this mean?

    Do you advertise your low tuition cost and comparecosts to four-year universities?

    Do you venture outside your service area andmarket your institution as a destination college?

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    The Bottom Line

    Continue to maintain your strengths while

    slowly improving on your weaknesses.

    Students are more interested in academic

    issues than in student services (regardless of

    location, ethnicity and gender)

    Students go behind the scenes to really find

    out what is going on. Do you?

    Competition is INCREASING

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    Enrollment Management

    Do you have a written E.M. plan based on

    your SWOT?

    Do you have an E.M. committee?

    Have you surveyed your own students? Why

    do they enroll at your institution?

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    Priorities

    You can always tell a colleges priorities by..

    the way they spend their money

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    Challenges

    Faculty and administrative retirements

    Do you have plans now in preparation for the

    future? How are you going to recruit faculty?

    What attracts faculty to teach at a rural

    college? (this is where you respond)

    Lifestyle, focus on instruction, climate of the

    college, family reasons

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    Challenges

    Failing infrastructure (strategic planning,

    master plan)

    Increasing competition for a shrinking pool of

    students (distance education)

    Inability to keep up with technology trends

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    Opportunities

    What do two year colleges typically do better

    than other institutions of higher education?

    INSTRUCTION. We are student centered andfocused

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    Opportunities

    What are the strengths of two year colleges?

    Cost, location, open enrollment policy, focus

    on student, remedial services, change/adapt

    quickly to community needs

    Do we get the word out about our strengths?

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    Opportunities/ Economic

    Development

    What is economic development?

    Attract new business

    Grow existing businesses

    Train employees

    What else?

    Why should community colleges be involved

    in economic development and partnerships?

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    Economic Development

    What should be the role of the community

    college in economic development?

    What can your college do to be involved in or

    improve economic development? Be specific

    We are ideally suited to partner, change, and

    create new programs as needed

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    Summary of Opportunities

    Ability to quickly change/adapt

    Ability to meet demands of business and

    industry (partnerships)

    Excellence in instruction

    Low cost of attendance

    Add/improve technical programs Add/improve developmental courses

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    Summary of Challenges

    Enrollment management (recruitment and

    retention)

    Failing infrastructure

    Recruiting faculty, staff and administration

    Increasing competition

    Inability to keep up with technology trends

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    Leadership Simplified

    What is an employees first reaction to any

    decision that you make?

    WIIFM: Whats in it for me?

    Think about this BEFORE you make a decision

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