CCE responds to drop in enrollment, student needs
Nasimeh Easton | Senior Writer
February 23, 2007
Filed under Archives
In the 2006-07 school year, enrollment for both traditional and Early College students rose, continuing the upward curve set by both in the past three years.But CCE enrollment, which had previously been following a similar path, dropped by over 50 students – or about four percent.
“Part of the problem last year was that we didn’t have anyone working on retention,” said Dean for Continuing Education Rita Serotkin. “Now, we have a retention coordinator, Joylynn Henning, and she’s doing a phenomenal job.”
The retention coordinator’s job is to figure out the needs of students and keep them enrolled. Since being appointed in October, Henning’s major focus has not been on numbers, but on creating lasting relationships within the CCE student body.
“A big part of my job is helping new students to feel like they are part of campus,” said Henning. “I want CCE students to be comfortable. I want them to feel that this is their campus just as much as anyone’s.”
Together with CCE senior Eva Griffin, Henning is pushing to create a mentoring program for adult students. This program would pair up current CCE students with incoming ones, who many times need some help adjusting to campus.
“If you have someone who’s been through the program here, it allows new students to have someone to call on for help or direction,” said Griffin. “It’s about helping students through that first semester.”
Even with new measures being taken, many students still feel a definite divide between traditional and CCE students.
“I feel the divide quite a bit. I don’t feel like a part of the campus at all,” said CCE junior Lori Griffin. “It’s not very pleasant for us, the CCE students.”
Some think that this divide is fueled in part by traditional students’ animosity towards their older classmates. This animosity is expressed in a variety of ways, from Facebook groups created by traditional students rallying against the program, to openly vocalized resentment of CCE students.
“When I hear traditional students verbalizing that we shouldn’t have CCE students, I have to ask myself, why?” said Serotkin. “There’s no question they’re at different points in their lives, but on a campus like Guilford’s, you’d think people would be more open-minded.”
“I’ve heard my peers complain about what CCE students have done, but (traditional students) are guilty of the exact same things,” said sophomore Laura Weigel. “What makes traditional students any different? This is Guilford. We’re supposed to be accepting of all kinds of diversity here.”
Both students and faculty have voiced the idea that perhaps the divide is unavoidable, in the same way that having a completely unified college is improbable.
“I don’t think people are necessarily trying to create the divide. It just happens,” said CCE senior Charmaine Morales. “CCE students have kids and families; they have different lifestyles.”
“The idea of a unified college is great,” said Serotkin. “But in reality, I don’t know how well it would work. CCE and traditional students have very different lives.”
Despite any tensions faced within the community, the CCE program keeps its goal of offering everyone a chance at continuing their education.
“The main thing is to work on helping students succeed and giving them the right tools to do so,” said Serotkin.
“I think the program says to the community of Greensboro that education is a lifelong process,” said Henning. “You don’t have to end it when you hit 23 or when you finish your graduate degree. It’s going to happen your whole life.”
For some, the tensions between traditional and adult students reflect larger, more deeply rooted issues.
“When you have a campus divided, it’s not just divided between two groups,” said Eva Griffin. “It’s divided between all groups. We need to come together and be unified because we’re all one community.”
“Living in a community like this takes openness, and openness is hard,” said Aaron Fetrow, dean for campus life. “Diversity is hard. It’s much easier just to stereotype, but we have to ask students on both sides of the question to take the hard approach.