COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- The University of Missouri is setting lofty goals to not only increase enrollment but to help students finish their degrees and find employment after graduation.
The university's Strategic Enrollment Management Committee recently unveiled five goals that it wants the university to obtain by 2023, The Columbia Missourian reported. The committee's work comes as the Columbia campus responds to declining enrollment that began after campus protests in November 2015.
Patricia Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science, said the five goals are:
-- Increasing the number of undergraduate, graduate and professional degree program and graduate credential completions to 10,000, compared with 9,150 last year.
-- Ensuring that 95 percent of undergraduate, graduate and professional students are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. A current comparison was not available.
-- Enhancing student access by adding scholarships, funding, transfer options and other opportunities, and increasing the annual size of new incoming undergraduates to 6,000. This semester, the university had 5,136 first-time students.
-- Increasing the first-year undergraduate student retention rate to 93 percent. As of August, the rate was 87 percent, the second-highest in university history.
-- Improving four-year undergraduate graduation rates from 44 percent to 52.8 percent.
Okker said 10,000 degree completions by 2023 would make a difference across the state.
"It certainly would ... meet the needs of our state for an educated workforce that's not just ready for the jobs of today but the jobs of tomorrow," Okker said.
Pelema Morrice, vice provost for enrollment management and strategic development, said the goals were a starting point for subcommittees that will meet over the next several months.
"It's really about a much more comprehensive, institutional approach to enrollment," he said.
The committee is building on other efforts underway in marketing and branding the university, Morrice said.
"There's no question that, for all of these goals, it's going to be important that people have a good understanding of who Mizzou is and what value we offer," Morrice said.
The enrollment subcommittees will meet from December through February 2018 and submit their goals by March 1. The final plan will be presented to the campus community by April 2018.