Central Methodist University in mid-Missouri is celebrating record enrollment for the third consecutive year. University officials say that preliminary reports show that four CMU enrollment records have been shattered this fall – total enrollment, freshman class size, residential population and new students.
There are 1,170 traditional undergraduate students enrolled this fall – up two percent; 361 freshmen, up seven percent; 821 students living on campus, up five percent; and a new record of 469 new students.
“The bottom line is we have a great product,” said Dr. Roger Drake, CMU president. “Students love the quality of our education, the faculty engagement and the beautiful campus.”
Besides overall student satisfaction with the product at CMU, Dr. Joe Parisi, vice president for enrollment management, said other big factors in Central’s growth include an influx of students from the St. Louis area and the Digital U initiative that provides iPads to all Fayette campus students.
He was quick to add that the institution’s commitment to safety during the pandemic – investing in COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, as well as ionization air cleaners for buildings, facial recognition software, expanded cleaning and expanded staffing.
“Adaptability is key right now,” Parisi said. “Not only have we had to adapt over and over again to engineer this class, but our students, faculty and staff are having to adapt constantly. It’s the society we are in now.”
Parisi said many of the practices applied during the pandemic could carry forward into the future after COVID-19 has subsided.
He said Central’s synchronous delivery of coursework in person and online might be the top instance, allowing students to remotely connect live to their classroom via Zoom. In addition, students who are ill or not able to connect may watch their class after the fact with a program called Panopto.
Other improvements that are likely to remain post-pandemic include the virtual campus tour. Although campus tours are proceeding, virtually connecting prospective students with faculty members and other campus amenities are appealing for those who live far away.
“Our faculty are super about taking time out of their day to visit with students, whether it is in person or on Zoom,” he said. “They’re always engaged with their students, and they take a real interest in helping prospective students with their college choices.”
Learn more at centralmethodist.edu