Northwest studies enrollment goal

Dr. Clarence Green, Northwest Missouri State University interim president

Northwest Missouri State University’s Homecoming last month was a huge success! Tons of alumni, students, employees and friends enjoyed the various events in our community this fall.

As we approach our commencement ceremonies and the end of the semester in December, Northwest is progressing on several key initiatives aimed at setting up our university for future success.

Northwest students and employees are highly engaged and have provided some valuable feedback that is allowing us to meet the people we serve in a more efficient manner while improving satisfaction. For example, for the first time in my 26 years at Northwest we are lowering our family insurance premiums and lowering our deductible in one of our plan offerings. We continue to work at being the employer of choice in our region.

The university’s board of regents has determined enrollment goals for the 2023-24 academic year. We have recalibrated our goals, based on our fall 2022 census data and have determined targets for all sectors for the next academic year. The difference between the board goals and the census-calibrated targets is within the undergraduate enrollment. We have reduced our goal by 226 students due to the small class size this fall and large graduating classes. These goals have been shared with key leaders so our work is aligned and our recalibrated targets are met.

Donor support also is a valuable resource that helps Northwest succeed. We have connected with two donors to invest funds, approximately $30,000, into a stackable scholarship to recruit students from Dallas Center-Grimes high school in Iowa. Through Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Matt Baker’s leadership of the university’s auxiliary services, we will also be offering institutional dollars to reduce room and board costs for these students. As stated on multiple occasions, on-ground Maryville undergraduate enrollment is the priority, and many are bringing innovative ideas that will course-correct the loss of more than 600 students in this sector during the last two years.

The office of Diversity and Inclusion has been busy with numerous trainings and programs on our campus, and their work off-campus has been just as impactful. They are working with the St. Joseph School District, training all of their administrators and working toward becoming the exclusive trainer for all of the district’s employees and students. These offerings have the potential to positively impact Northwest enrollment as well.

As you’ll recall, we have been discussing a central plant modernization P3 project. Through evaluation with our external technical and legal advisors, we determined proposals submitted were not financially viable. The board of regents supported our assessment and directed us to bring forth an option of taking on the work as a university with additional funding from the state and the bonding of funds to modernize our central plant.

We also have communicated about the right-sizing of our residence halls. Demolition grants that we applied for did not materialize, but we continue to move forward with plans of removing Phillips Hall and North Complex during the summers of 2023 and 2024 with board of regents approval. The relocation of offices within North Complex also is being evaluated.

On behalf of the Northwest Leadership Team and myself, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Join us for our annual Holiday Tree Lighting at 5:15 pm, Tuesday, November 29, at the Memorial Bell Tower on campus, and I am at Starbucks most Sundays at 7 am. Let’s continue the conversation. We are better when we work together!