CHSBS and CCFA taking largest student credit hour decreases

Each college within Central Michigan University has seen a decline in student credit hours this year as a result of freshman enrollment figures dropping significantly.

Among colleges taking the biggest hit is the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, which saw the largest decline in student credit hours from last year.

“Given that the CHSBS is responsible for two competency courses in English and a significant number of University Program courses, it is reasonable that we would feel the impact in the drop in freshman enrollment,” Dean Pamela Gates said. “Fewer freshmen reduces the need for as many sections of those courses.”

According to Gates, some of the courses feeling the impact include offerings in English, foreign languages and psychology, among others.

According to the Office of Institutional Research, the fall 2012 semester saw 65,372 CHSBS credit hours, compared to only 59,926 hours this year, which translates to a decrease of 8.3 percent.

Gates said this drop doesn't come as a surprise and online courses have been helping to fill the void.

“We have known for some time that the demographics of fewer students in high school would eventually mean a drop in the number of students attending college. We are seeing that now,” Gates said. “Fortunately, we have a robust set of course offerings provided through Global Campus, which addresses the educational needs for students who are not able to attend coursework on the CMU main campus.”

Gates has plans laid out to help bring in perspective students, as well.

“My department chairs and faculty are interested and engaged in student recruitment and retention,” she said. “We are working to develop a strategy for outreach to prospective students and applicants. We are making decisions on how best to present our program information and opportunities to them.”

The College of Communications and Fine Arts had the second largest decline, with an 8-percent reduction in credit hours.

Offering courses in art and design, broadcasting, music and communications, many of these courses can be used to fulfill University Program requirements – a staple of freshman education.

Salma Ghanem, dean of the CCFA, declined to comment on the credit hour decreases, but did say the college is continuing to work on recruitment.

The College of Business Administration had the smallest drop-off of any college, only reporting a 0.3-percent decline in credit hours taken.

“I think we just have a good college,” Emil Boasson, director of the master of science in information systems program. “We have good programs at many levels, and this is well-known.”