An Action Plan That Moves at the Speed of Students
In January 2020, Chancellor Dutta announced a major initiative designed to increase and improve recruitment and retention of students, as well as graduation rates at the University of Michigan-Flint. Within the framework of the current strategic plan, Project 2020 is an action plan designed to reposition the university for enhancing academic excellence and improving student success. The goals include:
- Increase recruitment, retention, and graduation (RRG) rates to make UM-Flint a best-in-class university for student success.
- Develop new academic programs, including a new College of Innovation and Technology, aligned with market demands and job placements that will sustainably grow UM-Flint’s enrollment to 10,000.
The implementation of Project 2020 is underway. To date, several important initiatives have been implemented or are being planned to help to fulfill the goals.
Recruitment, Retention and Graduation Initiatives
- Enhance Digital Marketing Campaign by designing campaigns with improved targeting by prospect type & interest.
Action: UM-Flint has engaged a nationally-renown digital marketing firm to assist with a comprehensive digital marketing campaign for potential undergraduate and graduate students.
- Expand In-State Recruitment by recalibrating UM-Flint resources to take advantage of recruitment opportunities in Michigan.
Action: Providing additional financial support to grant free tuition to qualified Flint students through the Flint Promise program.
Action: Implementation underway of a customer relations management system dedicated to assisting campus stakeholders with recruitment and retention efforts.
Action: Increasing aid to partial Pell grant FTIAC students.
- Expand Out-Of-State Recruitment by including Chicago, Washington D.C. and Northern Ohio.
Action: UM-Flint has implemented a new out-of-state tuition rate for undergraduate students that is 110% of the in-state tuition rate. Marketing campaigns targeting Chicago, Washington D.C. and Northern Ohio were launched in July 2020.
Action: Undergraduate admissions recruiter placed in Chicago and recruiting for Northern Ohio and Washington D.C.
- Grow Advising and Mentoring by reducing the advisor to student ratio to 1:200 to improve second and third year retention, and increasing the six-year graduation rate to 60 percent.
Action: The hiring of the first cohort of 5 new advisors is completed, and the hiring of more advisors is underway. A total of 20 new advisors will be hired by the end of 2021, making UM-Flint a leader among regional public universities offering intensive advising and mentoring to students.
- Curriculum Mapping by developing clear pathways to graduation for every major.
- Streamline Pathways for Transfer Students by reducing barriers and improving incentives for degree completion at UM-Flint.
Action: Additional funding in place to create more transfer student scholarships.
Action: Providing child care grants for students.
- Enhance and deepen relationships with community colleges in the region, particularly Mott Community College, by incentivizing more graduates with associates degrees to continue at UM-Flint.
College of Innovation & Technology Timeline
Concept & Project Scope – Fall 2019
Discuss concept with U-M leadership, Regents, deans & faculty, industry & community leaders
Project Planning – Winter-Summer 2020
Develop proposal for new College; consultation with faculty and deans; campus town hall; budget & space planning
Project Development – Fall 2020-Summer 2021
Recruit Founding Dean; recruit core faculty; curriculum development; set up labs, internships, and capstone projects; marketing & advertising; student recruitment
Launch – Fall 2021
Enroll First Cohort; continue marketing and advertising for next cohort; expand industry partnerships for internships & capstone projects; faculty hiring and program expansion; begin planning for new building
Engineering vs. Technology
The new College of Innovation & Technology at UM-Flint is a bold concept that will prepare students for promising careers in manufacturing, artificial intelligence, healthcare, aerospace, biotech, cyber security, and many other sectors of the 21st century economy.
In the traditional sense, technology refers to applied engineering and computer science. Colleges of Technology fill a gap in higher education that falls between vocational technical training offered by community colleges and the more theoretical bachelor’s degree programs in engineering and computer science. The 4-year bachelor’s degree technology graduates learn many of the same engineering and computer science fundamentals, but with less theory and a more hands-on approach as shown in the figure above.
The opportunity that CIT seeks to capitalize on is the emerging frontiers of manufacturing and cyber-physical systems. Introduced in 2016 and now widely accepted, the fourth industrial revolution will be driven by technologies that combine hardware, software, and biology. The College of Innovation and Technology will build upon the strong liberal arts foundation already in place at UM-Flint and develop new technology majors that will prepare students for rewarding careers in Industry 4.0
The CIT leadership will work closely with industry partners to create co-curricular experiences, innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities, and leadership training for students. CIT will also help people in the current workforce to retool and pivot into new areas via short courses, certificates and online modules.