Bob McMaster, Vice Provost & Dean of Undergraduate Education, recently provided an undergraduate education update to the Registrar's Advisory Committee (RAC). Highlights from his presentation included the following:
- Bob is working with all undergraduate education units on a strategic plan for undergraduate education, which will be incorporated into the overall Undergraduate Strategic Plan for the entire university.
- A team is being organized to work on researching several critical questions that will be addressed during the next 5-10 years to continue improvements in undergraduate education (e.g., How do we continue to close the retention gap on our campus?).
- The PeopleSoft Upgrade student group is on track for the launch in October 2014.
- The remodel to Northrop is slated to be completed by 2014. The grand re-opening is scheduled for April 4, 2014.
- The University is up for reaccreditation in 2015-16. Between now and then, there are a series of initiatives underway that will help us to prepare.
- Graduation and retention rates remain a high priority. The graduation rates have improved significantly over the last decade, but have remained fairly steady at 58% over the past two years, so it will be important to discover what factors, including the structure of the University curriculum, may be slowing time to graduation.
- Another high-priority initiative is the President's Emerging Scholars Program (PES). Previously named Access to Success, PES now enrolls nearly 500 students each fall, who receive scholarship aid and enhanced support from this program. PES admits students who, if using only the primary, formal metrics (e.g., GPA, ACT score), wouldn't be admitted to the University. When secondary factors are also considered, students are admitted based on the primary factors, and also considering secondary factors such as community involvement and leadership skills.
- Enrollment numbers continue to increase, and this year there are more undergraduates on campus than ever before (over 31,000), despite the downward slope of graduating high school students. Demographics for the undergraduate population show as 52% from the Twin Cities.