Greetings from Valley City State University!
Recently we were very pleased to announce another record-breaking semester of enrollment. Our spring enrollment of 1,622 represents nearly a 7% increase over last year’s 1,517 headcount. The undergraduate headcount of 1,491 for spring 2020 is also a record, exceeding the 2019 figure of 1,375 by more than 8%.
Other records in the spring 2020 numbers include both the institutional total FTE (full-time equivalent) and the undergraduate FTE. The institutional total FTE figure of 1,091 represents nearly a 7% increase over the 2019 figure of 1,020, and the undergraduate FTE of 1,044 represents nearly an 8% increase over the 2019 figure of 970.
As I visit with business and community leaders, legislators, colleagues, and supporters in Valley City, the region, and across the state, I’m often asked, “What exactly is contributing to this continued growth at VCSU?” There is no one answer; rather it’s the combined effect of many different initiatives, a continued commitment to quality teaching, a welcoming and personalized atmosphere, a curriculum that is relevant and reflects current needs and trends in the workforce, and a continued focus on student success and the overall student experience.
Quality curriculum delivered by highly qualified professors teaching in a personalized setting with small class sizes continues to be one of the important characteristics that sets VCSU apart.
Evidence of our students’ academic success abounds on campus. Just a few days ago I was privileged to attend three research presentations from students in our science department. The research, conducted in collaboration with VCSU science faculty, included:
- Baylee Berg, “The Effect of Multigenerational Exposure of 2,4-D or Ethanol on Fertility in Drosophila melanogaster”
- Spencer Dorsey, “Mapping of Bluegill Beds on Seven Lakes in Central North Dakota”
- Jayme Menard, “Spring Creek and Clausen Springs Reservoir Watershed Assessment”
Their presentations were polished and professional, and I found the results of the research they shared relevant and fascinating.
Earlier this year, we created a retention task force to examine our retention efforts and suggest areas for improvement. The success of this effort is already apparent with an increase in the fall-to-spring retention rate of our first-year, full-time students pushing that figure to almost 90%. Our hard work in bringing students to Valley City State and helping them succeed pays off for the students, their families and us. These numbers are an indicator of the quality teaching and learning environment on our campus, which we continually strive to improve, remaining ever mindful of our charge to provide an outstanding education and great value.
Be assured, we don’t take these increased enrollment numbers and positive trends for granted. We must always remember that these numbers aren’t just an abstract count; they represent people. They are students who have entrusted us to help provide academic, social and life skills that place them on pathways to successful careers and life after college. We appreciate the trust placed in us by the students and their families, and we pledge to continue delivering the quality education that has been a hallmark of Valley City State University for generations to come.