OU projected to have 20,400 students for 2014 fall semester

By Ali DeRees

Oakland University is going through a transformation.

The institution is now home to a new engineering building and a clock tower. A parking structure was built to combat the parking paranoia and a new marketing strategy was created to challenge students to ‘Aspire to Rise’. The university is growing at a rapid rate and there are numbers to prove it.

Oakland is projected to have 20,400 students for the fall semester according to Reuben Ternes, Research Associate at the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. The number includes both undergraduate and graduate students.

According to Reuben, the enrollment reports are largely based off of the fall semester numbers and the official count and enrollment report for 2014, which will be released in late September.

This is a staggering difference compared to ten years ago, where the total headcount was 13,165 students, a 64 percent increase.

The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment consider a number of factors while compiling and analyzing the enrollment data ranging from enrollment by geographic origin to enrollment by gender.

“We are about 60:40 female to male,” Reuben said.

Rueben said one of the most interesting and valuable enrollment trends available are those by colleges within the university.

Since the recession, there was greater male enrollment in the School of Engineering. Enrollment is down in School of Education because of statewide changes in the teaching field.

“From an administrative perspective, I’m thinking about trends, what do students want?” Reuben said.

Reuben said he believes retaining students is just as important as enrolling students; They go hand in hand. The U.S. as a nation has struggled to have as many students graduate from college.

“We made great strides in enrolling but not as great strides finishing,” Reuben said. “We didn’t give them the necessary tools to get the college experience.”

The largest college on campus has shown continuous and significant growth. The College of Arts and Sciences has grown from 6,685 students in 2012 to 6,977 in 2013, according to the Oakland University Enrollment Report for Fall 2013.

The College of Arts and Sciences offers 75 majors within 16 departments.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Kevin Corcoran has noticed a specific trend that validates the growth of the college.

“People are interested in the helping people of sorts,” Corcoran said.

The biology major has grown over 60 percent in the last five years. Programs in criminal justice, social work and bioengineering have been added in recent year and have become quite popular, according to Corcoran.

“When making plans for creating new programs within the college and enhancing the existing ones, certain questions must be addressed,” Corcoran said. “Is the curriculum doing what we intended it to do? Is it serving the students? Where’s the field going to be? What’s going to happen in the future?” 

The Dean stressed that a college education serves two main purposes for students.

“A good college education should prepare you for life and work,” he said.