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School of Communication enrollment on steady climb

image of Fell Hall at Illinois State University

Fell Hall at Illinois State University

Across 14 years of economic, political, and institutional ups and downs, the School of Communication (SoC) has maintained a steady trend of enrollment growth. This trend actually mirrors the overall enrollment trend for the university over the same period. The School and the University have withstood a major recession, upheaval in state governorship, competition from neighboring states’ universities, and a lack of a state budget. 

For the SoC, enrollment of undergraduates in its programs has seen peaks and valleys, but the overall trend is up. This trend coincides with the growth for the larger communication fieldBecause of a variety of factors that affect people’s decisions about enrolling in institutions of higher education, predicting accurately the near term enrollment is very difficult to do. The overall trend, however, suggests that we can expect continued but modest enrollment growth. 

Graph Illustrating SoC undergrad enrollment

Fall enrollment data are the standard data used in institutional planning and reporting. For the SoC, across its four undergraduate majors and its graduate program, varying patterns of enrollment are clear. In the period of 2004 to 2005, the creation of the journalism major from the mass communication major show a stark shift in enrollment data. From 2006 on, the data are more reflective of the four majors we offer. Important external factors in the respective fields of our majors affect enrollment, such as digital-media technology and career-economic opportunities. Over the past three years there has been a marked enrollment increase for our communication studies major, as students have been drawn to its emphases of organizational leadership and political communication. Students in this major seem to seek learning about communication that can be applied to a broader range of industry fields than those of our other majors. Data about our graduate program only recently has been collected and has been steady

Graph illustrating SoC enrollment trends from 2004-2008.

Proportionally speaking, students are enrolled in the SoC’s programs in the following ways for this fall semester. Given the linear enrollment levels in the preceding graphic, the proportions of students among the School’s programs can shift a bit, with some notable shifts at different times over the years.

Chart illustrating Spring 2018 SoC enrollment.

Data like these serve a vital purpose in the strategic planning for the SoC. During 2015 the School completed a mandatory “program review,” which was an intense, thorough, and highly detailed analysis of the School in every respect, including comparisons to competition. That review guides us well in our continuous improvement for all School programs and matters. We also just ratified a new five-year strategic plan that capitalizes on the great insights about the School’s performance and future direction.

This spring 2018 we graduated 190 students plus 52 more in the summer. All of us in ISU’s SoC are enthusiastic about how well the University and the School are performing and have every reason to keep that enthusiasm going in all that we do. Our alumni and current students especially can be excited about the School and University, and we faculty and staff look forward to your participation and support of our programs and your alma mater.

 

Any story ideas or general feedback? Please contact Pete Smudde at psmudde@ilstu.edu.

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