Enrollment at Western Illinois University has dropped precipitously during the past decade. New President Guiyou Huang said he intends to turn that around.
He said the Division of Enrollment and Management is in the process of developing a student recruitment plan.
“That plan will be critical,” Dr. Huang said during an online town hall meeting with civil service employees. “The university is very aggressively pursuing recruitment strategies.”
He said he expected the plan to be ready by the end of the spring semester.
Huang said Western’s finances are stable, but he also said WIU will be more financially viable if it can recruit more students and retain them through graduation. He said everyone on campus is responsible for helping grow enrollment.
“That (enrollment) is the bread and butter of our organization.”
The president said WIU is also developing a student retention plan.
Huang, as he has in the past, emphasized what he called “The 3 R Principle:” Recruit, Retain, Revenue.
When asked about the possibility of layoffs, Huang responded that increased recruitment, retention, and revenue will provide job security for Western’s employees. He said a workforce reduction “is the last thing” he wants to see happen.
“Why did that have to happen? It’s when enrollment goes down, when revenue is not generated, then reduction becomes the necessary evil,” he said. “We are not planning on that. Not in the near future.”
Dr. Huang said he is interested in growing Western “when we see improvement in enrollment.”
President Huang said WIU’s senior leadership team decided a hybrid format is the best approach for this May’s graduation ceremonies.
“I personally like in-person commencements. It’s joyful and celebratory,” said Huang. “(But) right now the safest way to do this is probably hybrid.”
Details were not given during the town hall. A memo should be sent soon to graduating students.
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