In The News › New UNO President John Nicklow aims to boost enrollment to 12,000 in five years

Jul 21, 2016

Source: The Advocate

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Schools

New UNO President John Nicklow aims to boost enrollment to 12,000 in five years

By Richard Thompson

The Advocate

July 21, 2016

Four months after being named to the post, University of New Orleans President John Nicklow on Thursday outlined his “lofty goal” for boosting enrollment at the Lakefront school, which last year saw its student head count sink to its lowest point in nearly a half-century.

His target: a nearly 42 percent increase in five years.

“Rebuilding our enrollment is my top priority,” Nicklow told a packed room at a breakfast briefing hosted by the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit group that analyzes public policies.

He certainly has his work cut out for him. UNO’s enrollment last fall — 8,423 students — was less than half of where it stood before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was UNO’s smallest student body since 1967.

Further complicating matters: The school’s state subsidy has dropped from $74 million in 2008-09 to about $27 million this year, forcing it to rely on increased student tuition and fees to plug the gap. Additional midyear funding cuts are expected.

Nicklow’s approach is twofold: retaining more existing students and drawing more applicants.

To retain more of the students he already has, Nicklow’s plan involves targeting specific segments or demographics — such as first-year or out-of-state students, or black or Hispanic students — and working to keep them focused and on-track.

He also wants to attract more adult and on-line students as well as dual-enrolled high-school students, and to “rebrand” UNO to appeal to potential applicants who live outside the region, drawing on the appeal of living in a city like New Orleans.

As provost, Nicklow used a direct-mail recruiting initiative to target a half-million students who had recently taken the ACT exam, a move that, he said, helped put UNO on the radar of prospective applicants across the country.

By breaking up enrollment targets into smaller categories, Nicklow said, “it’s easier to get a handle on those kind of goals.”

His overall target: boosting UNO’s enrollment to 12,000 students in five years, a feat he acknowledged is “a lofty goal.”

A Pittsburgh native, Nicklow previously served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois for four years. He was hired as UNO’s provost in mid-2015, holding the post for less than a year before being named to the school’s top job.

In his briefing Thursday, Nicklow said his other priorities for UNO included expanding research opportunities, establishing and building partnerships with businesses and the community, and rebranding UNO to make it more appealing to prospective students.

Tighter state-mandated admissions standards also undercut UNO’s attempts to increase its enrollment in recent years, weeding out hundreds of students from metro New Orleans.

Students enrolled in the city’s public schools averaged an 18.8 on the ACT in 2014, about a point below the statewide average. Under the new standards, students need a minimum score of 19 in math, 18 in English and a composite score of 23, or a high school core GPA of 2.5, to be admitted to UNO.

But unlike his predecessor, former UNO President Peter Fos, Nicklow said he opposes lowering admissions standards to where they were before the reforms.

Instead, he said, UNO should be able to take a more “holistic view” that considers factors such as high school attendance, grade-point average and the reputation of the school where an applicant graduated, in order to determine an applicant’s likely success at UNO.

Even as he charts his course, Nicklow warned Thursday that it will take time — at least “three or so years” — to see marked improvement in the numbers.

“This is not a flash-in-the-pan solution,” he said. “It takes a concerted effort for a very long period of time. What I can tell you is that the momentum on campus is really impressive, and I’m really pleased to see it.”

Jul 21, 2016

Source: The Advocate

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Schools

Fair Use Notice

This site occasionally reprints copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues and to highlight the accomplishments of our affiliates. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is available without profit. For more information go to: US CODE: Title 17,107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.