Schmidt outlines plans for future

Maintaining quality students a big goal for the chancellor

Story by Pete Winslow, Freelancer

“It is our job to help students reach their academic goals,” Chancellor James C. Schmidt said at the November forums on student retention and recruitment.

Excellence: Our measure, our motto our goal is UW-Eau Claire’s slogan, and Schmidt is working hard to keep it that way. With an enrollment size between 10,000 and 12,000, Schmidt said there is always room for improvement and would see the university double their efforts in helping students achieve their goals.

Schmidt said the university is trying to become more “attractive” to incoming students while still maintaining a high level for current students.

This school year, Eau Claire has made the freshmen target with admissions, and most people that apply decide to come here. Schmidt said he was happy with the size of the school and that he does not want to see it grow uncontrollably. He also said that graduation rates are improving, and that the university are ranking quite well nationally.

“In January, I appointed an Enrollment Management Task Force to look ahead 10 years and make recommendations to help ensure Eau Claire will be living according to it’s values”, Schmidt said. The Task Force has a six-point-plan in place for the next ten years. The recommendations are as followed:

  1. Achieve an incoming freshmen class of 2,200
  2. Enroll 20 percent of students of color
  3. Increase the number of transfer students by ten percent
  4. Achieve a four year graduation rate of 40 percent
  5. Increase the second year retention rate to 87 percent and the third year retention rate to 80 percent
  6. Significantly reduce equity gaps for students of color in retention and graduation rates

Schmidt has called on the Director of Admissions, Heather Kretz, and the Director of Marketing, Becky Dienger, to help fulfill these goals.

“We are coming up with strategies,” Dienger said. “We are trying to know our students more.”

Schmidt said he likes to get potential students to imagine what it would be like to be a Blugold. He said that if we can show them the different experiences and opportunities available, it might get them to think about their future here.

Kretz said that there are going to be things we try that might not work, but confidence is the key. This Task Force is focused on the overall well being of the students, and the core mission of the university.

“We can define our future,” Schmidt said.

As an institution defined by the students, Schmidt and the newly formed Task Force are constantly planning for the future and hoping that they can help any and all students succeed.