Graduate Enrollment Freeze

Two of the remaining graduate journalism students Nick Scott (left) and Ashley Williams (right), hold a class discussion with Professor Charles Madigan (center). Photo by: Quinton R. Arthur

Two of the remaining graduate journalism students Nick Scott (left) and Ashley Williams (right), hold a class discussion with Professor Charles Madigan (center).
Photo by: Quinton R. Arthur

As Roosevelt University’s 2015 fall semester begins, faculty and staff welcome students in numbers less than expected. Enrollment is down for the university, affecting many departments in various ways.

Earlier in the year, Roosevelt’s Fitch Rating went down to BBB-, as stated by the Business Wire website. Fitch is one of the largest nationally known statistical reporting agencies. According to the report, revenue for the university is heavily relied on student enrollment. Undergraduate rates have stayed strong, but graduate rates have waned in recent years.

The department impacted most by low enrollment the most is the graduate journalism program. According to the Fall 2013 profile of selected programs, provided by the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment & Accreditation, the master’s journalism program had 54 students, both full time and part time, enrolled in 2008, but the recent statistic in 2013, only 13 were enrolled, a 76 percent decrease.

This year, registration for fall classes opened early March, but in June, there were not enough students enrolled in the first semester-required courses for the program. At the behest of the administration, the unpropitious decision was made to cancel the first semester courses, thereby suspending the program for one year.

“The program suspension does not apply to or affect current, continuing students in the program,” said Marian Azzaro, Chair of the Communications Department. “Each student is allowed to continue towards completion.”

Though enrollment for the university is down, many students were retained to complete their education.

“I came back because I wanted to finish,” affirmed Brianna Caswell, a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major. “Changing schools is harder and cost more.”

Carlita Kelly, a senior Marketing major, believes a sense of school pride will improve student interest.

“[Roosevelt University] is missing school spirit,” said Kelly. “Students do not have an affinity towards the university to motivate them to attend.”

In regards to changing this enrollment trend, Roosevelt’s newly elected president is sure to have a positive impact. During President Ali Malekzadeh’s tenure at Kansas State University, he raised $6.7 million for the College of Business Administration.

“[Malekzadeh’s] fundraising accomplishments and commitment to student success make him the ideal person to lead Roosevelt to the next level of achievement,” as stated by James J. Mitchell III, chairman of Roosevelt’s Board of Trustee, in an interview by the Public Relations office.

Though the situation is not favorable presently, there is an optimistic future for the graduate Journalism program.

“The members of the Journalism faculty are working together to propose revisions to the Journalism curriculum,” assured Azzaro. “So that we can re-launch the Roosevelt University Journalism program for the future.”

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