Enrollment strong, chancellor positive in opening fall address

Fall UCCS student enrollment is on pace to exceed 9,300 students and a largest-ever freshman class is also anticipated, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said during an Aug. 30 forum, the first of the fall semester.

Shockley-Zalabak thanked faculty and staff in attendance for a variety of efforts to increase enrollment of new students and retain existing students. Those efforts lead to preliminary estimates of total enrollment of more than 9,200 students and a freshman class of more than 1,400.

“I feel very comfortable telling you that our total enrollment will be 9,300 this year,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “We won’t know officially until after Sept. 8 but I feel very comfortable in sharing this good overall news with details to come.”

Last fall, UCCS enrolled 8,893 students. Budget projections called for a 2 percent enrollment growth. If enrollment reaches 9,200 students, UCCS will have grown 3.4 percent. Enrollment of 9,300 students equals a 4.5 percent increase. Last year’s freshman class of 1,155 freshmen will also be surpassed with approximately 1,400 freshmen expected this year, a 21 percent increase.

“I know this was not an easy task,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “Not all state colleges are seeing increases. I’m pleased that we are and thank everyone for their hard work.”

Strong enrollment means stability for UCCS, Shockley-Zalabak said. Tuition and fees paid by students is the largest share of the university’s budget.

But with increased student growth comes challenges. UCCS must work on renewing its strategic plan, mostly because most of the goals outlined in the 2007-2012 plan have been met, Shockley-Zalabak said. A new strategic planning effort will begin in earnest this fall with a core group of faculty and staff  examining UCCS core values and mission. Through the fall semester and into the early portion of the spring semester, there will be opportunities for input from faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders. A completed plan will be presented to the CU Board of Regents in April.

Another challenge of growth is campus parking. Shockley-Zalabak reported that students were parked at the University Village Shopping Center this past week and bused to campus. In lieu of building more parking spaces, Shockley-Zalabak called on campus deans and faculty to reexamine teaching schedules to include Fridays and weekends.

“The reality is that we need parking,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “But the reality is that parking is expensive. We have to schedule more on Friday and weekends to mitigate our needs.”

— Photo by Jeff Foster

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