Catawba College began the 2019-'20 academic year Tuesday with its largest incoming class in the College's 168-year history. The more than 20 percent increase in total student enrollment deposits is a result of increases in the freshman class and in transfer students from other colleges and community colleges.
The Catawba College Board of Trustees and College administration are focused on student recruitment and retention. During the last academic year, this included efforts of continued engagement with prospective students, combined with an increase in the marketing budget to reach more students through social media, public relations, and branded marketing materials.
Bill Graham, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said that the increase in enrollment is due mainly to two factors. "First, our Office of Admissions has worked very hard for the past year. Their steadfast dedication and attention to the individual student is paying off. I cannot be more proud of our enrollment team, administration, faculty and coaches in bringing in the largest incoming class in the history of Catawba.
"The second reason is that Catawba's reputation for academic excellence is getting broader regional and national attention. Catawba is quite simply one of the finest academic institutions of its size in the United States and once Catawba becomes more widely known, you are going see an ever increasing enrollment."
Brien Lewis, College President, reported at the fall faculty/staff conference that a survey of 2018 graduates revealed that one year after graduation, 97 percent of them are either employed or in graduate/professional school. The "one year out" survey surpassed our already stellar results for 2017 graduates, he said.
This summer, the College's current MIND BODY SOUL Campaign for Growth targeted funds for hiring three Success Coaches to work specifically with incoming freshmen to help them make the transition to college successfully, thus increasing the College's recruitment retention rate.
Students started classes this week and were welcomed at the annual Opening Convocation service on Tuesday. A campus and local community party and picnic followed the event, which featured Rowan County merchants.
Lewis, in his President's Report to members of the campus, also praised the new Department of Nursing, established in the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance. The first graduating class's pass rate in the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN® exam) is 88 percent, above the national and state first-time pass rate of 83 percent, Lewis said.
Lewis also cited Catawba's results in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) for 2018/'19 academic year:
- 92% of first-year students and 90% of seniors rated their overall experience at Catawba as "excellent" or "good."
- 95% of seniors responded "very much" or "quite a bit" with perceived gains in thinking critically and analytically.
- 82% of seniors responded "very much" or "quite a bit" with perceived gains in analyzing numerical and statistical information.
- 82% of seniors responded "very much" or "quite a bit" with perceived gains in acquiring job or work-related knowledge and skills.
"Compared to other Southeast private institutions, our students' average (both first-year and senior year) was significantly higher in collaborative learning, discussions with diverse others, and student/faculty interaction," Lewis said.