September 19, 2022
Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,
As promised last week, I want to provide an enrollment and retention update as of Census I, which was taken on Thursday, September 8. As of that date, there were 9,070 students enrolled for Fall 2022, which is 299 below (–3.2%) where we were at this time last year. The all-important full-time undergraduate population is down 574 students (–10.1%), year-to-date. Enrollment of the continuing student population stands at 6,058 students, which is 204 students fewer (-3.3%) than this time last year. In more positive news, our first-year retention rate is trending upward at 71.5% (+4%), with 7 of 10 categories of students exceeding last year-to-date.
Our main campus and WP Online populations continue to tell two very different stories. Main campus is trending lower at -15.3%, while WP Online is trending higher with 56.9% growth. Summer enrollment is also trending higher (+8%) on the strength of WP Online. Our online growth is good news and a testament to the quality and appeal of our offerings. However, the full-time, main campus population is the biggest source of revenue, so reversing these declines is imperative.
There were 1,136 (797 undergraduate, 339 graduate) Fall 2021 students who did not register for Spring ’22, and 1,225 (900 undergraduate, 325 graduate) Spring ’22 students who did not register for Fall ’22. Students in both groups will form the basis of “Here-to-Help” and “Back-on-Track 2.0”, our coordinated outreach campaigns to re-enroll students who have stopped out. Of course, whether or not we are directly involved in these campaigns, we all have a role to play in helping students solve the problems that keep them from staying enrolled or re-enrolling, and I appreciate the good work many are doing here.
While several enrollment and retention measures are heading in the right direction, our enrollment shortfalls continue to negatively impact the budget. As we consider additional cost savings, the University will again offer eligible employees incentives similar to the past Voluntary Separation Program and Transition to Retirement. Eligible employees who are interested in being considered will be able to submit applications, and approval will be contingent upon University operational needs and fiscal impact. We are currently discussing the details of the incentive programs with the campus unions. Once those are complete, Vice President for Human Resources Allison Boucher Jarvis will share details via email, sometime in the coming weeks.
The University has started the process of implementing Workday as our new cloud-based system for Human Resources, Payroll, and Finance, replacing our current administrative software, Banner. Workday’s more user-friendly processes will streamline many of our everyday operations to increase administrative efficiency in everything from filing expense reports to filling out time sheets, changing direct deposit information, and creating divisional budgets. Additionally, because Workday seamlessly connects data in Human Resources, Payroll, and Finance in one place, it will provide better and more relevant real-time insights to help us make sound business decisions across the institution. Transferring our processes onto the Workday platform will involve the insight and experience of many members of our WP community. A WP Workday Change Management Team is in place and working on this important project. Keep an eye out for more details to come in an email from the project’s executive sponsors, Vice President Boucher-Jarvis, Interim CIO Gamin Bartle, and CFO Tim Lever.
A reminder that a great program of events to celebrate and recognize Hispanic Heritage Month at William Paterson kicks off with an opening event tomorrow, Tuesday, September 20 at 12:30 p.m. in UC Ballroom A, featuring a keynote address entitled, “The Power of Writing Our Own Stories,” by WP Professor Rosa E. Soto. Check Daily Announcements, the Pioneer Portal, and the Corq app for all these and other campus activities.
It was a beautiful weekend for tailgating followed by a great win by our Pioneer Football team, which improved to 2-1 on the season. Among the many alumni, students, WP employees, and others who turned out for the pre-game tailgate were 55 graduates of the Class of 2022, who used the occasion to pick up their diplomas, as well as reconnect with friends. Also this weekend, William Paterson was well represented at the Annual Wayne Day festivities, which I attended, along with several other administrators and staff. It was a great opportunity for members of our campus community to connect with the broader community of the town that we call home.