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‘Campaign 2015’ aims to increase incoming students

October 10, 2014

Now that the number of student retention in previous years has been stabilized, the UW System is looking at increasing numbers of incoming students in a program called “Campaign 2015.”

Campaign 2015 is a project aimed at bringing in new students for the 2015-2016 academic year at UW-River Falls, as well as all UW System universities. The campaign members have a goal to enroll 1,150 new freshmen and 450 new transfer students for the fall 2015 semester.

“When we look at overall enrollment, we can improve that on two fronts: recruitment of new students and retention of current students,” said Associate Vice Chancellor Kris Anderson. “We needed to be more aggressive in our recruitment.”

It started with the website redesign. Now there are ads placed in the National College Fair in Minnesota. There is also a bigger focus on digital marketing with search engine optimization, with Twincities.com targeting tablet and mobile device ads, Chancellor Dean Van Galen said in an email.

The goal is to enhance campus tours, better communicate the opportunities available at UWRF, and have a stronger marketing presence in central Wisconsin as well as Minnesota. UWRF has a stronghold in central Wisconsin and is still working that area, but is trying to get involved deeper and more in depth with marketing. There is a focus on Minnesota: there has recently been an ad on the Blue Line, on sides of buses in the St. Paul, Minnesota, area, and in the Star Tribune.

The Admissions office is playing a central role for Campaign 2015, but there are also students, faculty and staff from departments like Admissions, Enrollment and Student Success, Student Affairs, marketing, and the College of Arts and Science contributing to increasing the number of new students.

There is a big population at UWRF of international students. This year in particular, there is a large population of students from the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Project. Their numbers are also taken into consideration for the prospected goal for the campaign.

Transfer recruiters are also making a bigger presence in feeder colleges like Century College, Inver Hills Community College, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and Normandale Community College. By becoming a visible presence, it helps make the transfer from a two-year college to a four-year university easier.

UWRF has a new transfer coordinator, Tom Bruflat, in the Admissions office. He is having more college visits to technical and two-year community colleges, to have a better visibility for students who may be interested in transferring to UWRF.

“The Campaign 2015 is kind of modeled on what folks do almost on a fundraising campaign,” Anderson said.

The main focus for Campaign 2015 is to enhance recruitment, retention and success for its students. Although it is a short-term plan, there are factors that will enhance the school for years to come.