UM-Flint's Decade of Growth Attributed to Mindfulness and Hard Work
Bigger does not mean better. However, growth is often the byproduct of doing things better. Businesses that surpass customer expectations earn more patrons. Teams that win more games gain more fans. Universities that help students achieve lifelong goals experience increased enrollment.
Over the last 10 years, the University of Michigan-Flint has seen enrollment rise 38 percent, the highest percentage growth of any public university in Michigan by a considerable margin. As UM-Flint Chancellor Ruth Person noted in her 2014 State of the University of Address, this increase occurred amidst some of the most trying and uncertain times for the city of Flint, the state of Michigan, and higher education itself.
So how does UM-Flint account for its decade-long enrollment surge? There are myriad initiatives—macro and micro, institutional and personal—that shed light on the phenomenon. But what unites them all is the diligence, daring, and decisive action exhibited by all members of the UM-Flint community, as well as key partners in Flint and around the world.
Some of those strategic initiatives include:
- The introduction of on-campus and near-campus housing
- Expansion of international recruitment, enabled by new student housing
- Growth of graduate program offerings
- Investment in veterans services, including construction of a Student Veterans Resource Center
- Innovative dual enrollment programs such as the DEEP initiatives in school districts across Southeastern Michigan
- Focus on student retention, in part through restructuring of academic advising, tutoring, and counseling services
- Facility upgrades, particularly to main academic buildings
- Streamlining of enrollment process for transfer students
- Rededication to "engaged learning" (via civic engagement, internships, research, education abroad, etc.)
- Reinvigoration of arts, entertainment, and businesses in downtown Flint
The initiatives cited above—and many, many more—help explain UM-Flint's growth. Yet each student has his or her own reason for choosing a school. And listening to—and acting upon—the wants, needs, dreams, and desires of students may be the single greatest driver of growth at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Here are students explaining why they chose UM-Flint in their own words: