UM-Flint students, faculty discuss enrollment and graduation crisis
FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – University of Michigan-Flint students, faculty and staff members attended a community town hall to provide ideas and solutions to the university’s struggling enrollment and graduation rates.
First-year student enrollment had declined each year since 2017 until this fall, while the university said six-year graduation rates are the lowest of the state’s 15 public universities.
The university also said high school graduation rates are continuing to decline across the state.
“There’s been an economic decline due to COVID and also a enrollment decline in students and, with the upcoming STRATEGIC transformation process. There’s a lot of cuts that are going to be made and financial decisions that sadly do not always have those key players in mind,” said Maeko Leigh McGovern, a UM-Flint student.
The school’s Black Student Union and the American Association of University Professors organized the meeting to provide a space for individuals to offer solutions to the issues of enrollment, graduation, and community engagement in an equitable way.
“I think that there was so many ideas that were being spread and how we can take next steps to disseminate this information and educate everybody as a whole, especially students. And minority students that aren’t being noticed right now,” said McGovern.
“It’s really inspiring, especially to hear from students about what they see as the potential for this institution,” said Kim Saks, a UM-Flint assistant professor of political science.
Chancellor Debasish Dutta and the University of Michigan Board of Regents launched a strategic transformation plan to resolve enrollment and graduation decline, but many fear it will mean cuts to programs and services.
“The next promise report involves an analysis of the academic programs, which many faculty and students and staff are worried about because it may provide an incomplete picture of what these programs can offer this campus in this community,” said Saks.
Organizers would like to see more transparency and better communication with students so they can be involved in the process.
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