Dr. Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the UNL College of Business Administration, announced a 25.4 percent increase in first-time freshmen enrollment in the College of Business Administration (CBA) this fall. The numbers buck the trend across the University of a 1.6 percent decrease in overall enrollment.
“These numbers not only show the second largest increase in the last 16 years in CBA, but also reverse a five-year downward trend in new freshmen,” Plowman said. “We have 567 first-time freshmen who are pursuing a major in business.”
First-time transfer students in CBA also increased 15.8 percent, putting overall enrollment up by 4.5 percent.
Plowman said new programs, activities and promotional efforts, including an improved and expanded website, and numerous touch points with students and their families were key to providing new students with not only the information they needed, but also a feeling of being part of a greater community when visiting the college.
“One of our most successful efforts in building a community with our freshmen has been our CBA sunglasses, which new students received at New Student Enrollment if they agreed to follow the dean on Twitter and sign up for the CBA Facebook. The students post photos in their glasses on the CBA Facebook page and it’s a great way for them to start to know each other.” Plowman said. “Whether they see each other in the Union or downtown, they know they are CBA related when they see the red and black glasses.”
Nursabrina Alauddin & Aakriti Agrawal
The sunglasses were just one part of the recruitment and marketing plan for new students. Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs D’vee Buss and her staff, and Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Sheri Irwin-Gish and her staff, worked with admissions, faculty, staff and even alumni to build on the CBA community idea.
“We are being much more proactive about asking students to come be a part of the CBA experience from all areas. D’vee and Sheri and their staffs have worked together to lead this charge. However, faculty and staff have also helped throughout the year by speaking with prospective students, calling admitted prospective students to encourage them to enroll, and by introducing themselves to prospective students and their parents when spotted in the building. We believe all these efforts lead to others wanting to be a part of CBA,” said Plowman.
She added that one parent wrote this summer to tell CBA staff that their son would be attending CBA after turning down admission at another major out-of-state school, because UNL made him feel wanted.
“Although the other school offered him a large financial incentive, the parent said no one ever contacted him or showed him any interest. In the end, the personal contact from CBA staff made all the difference for him,” Plowman said.
Chris Ames, a freshmen from Omaha, Neb., said, “After attending the UNL Red Letter Day and meeting Dean Plowman, I began to realize business was a better fit for me. During the following months, Dr. Gwen Combs called me a couple times and after seeing how helpful and supportive they were of me and how they wanted me to be a part of the family, I knew UNL CBA was the place to be.”