Cover story

October 3 , 2003
Vol. 28, No. 4

Green chemistry
Minority enrollment increase sets record
Improved student services called key
McAllister to lead Dole Institute as interim director
Shadow dancers
United Way campaign challenges contributors
Financial woes cause Printing Services layoffs
Catholic, Jewish studies professorships established
Grad student stretches talents

Lecture series to bring writers, analysts to KU
AAUP organizes public forum on Patriot Act
Former professor solves royal mystery in Sickly Stuarts
KU joins study of doctoral education

New portable carts provide options for fast food, beverages

Peace Corps renews KU office grant

Faculty receive Higuchi awards
Novelist supports Watkins scholarship

Hispanic heritage celebrated at KU

August employees honored
Engineering hall to be dedicated
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Minority enrollment increase sets record

Efforts to recruit and retain more underrepresented students at KU are paying off, according to the official fall semester 2003 enrollment report.

For the second consecutive year KU witnessed record-breaking recruitment and retention of minority students. Figures show KU’s overall number of students in four minority groups—African-American, Native American, Hispanic and Asian — rose to 3,281, an increase of 316 students over fall 2002, and the largest increase on record. Minority students in KU’s first-time freshman class numbered 520, an increase of 70 students, or 15.6 percent.

In addition, retention of first-year minority students improved. Of the minority students from KU’s 2002 freshman class, 81.7 percent returned this fall, an increase of almost 2 percentage points over the previous year and up sharply from 71.2 percent five years ago.

“This is about more than rising enrollments,” said Janet Murguia, executive vice chancellor for university relations. “KU is committed to attracting a richer, more diverse mix of students to our campuses. We’re proud of the growing sense of community and record of student success we’re building here.”

Officials in the KU Office of Multicultural Affairs say KU is expanding its recruiting, making the campus more welcoming and bulking up several strong academic mentorship programs.

“We’ve partnered with our admissions and scholarships office to meet and greet around the state, in places like Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kan., and in Garden City and out-of-state cities like St. Louis,” said Tony Daniels, associate director of multicultural affairs. “When students do come on a campus visit, they already have met us. That’s a plus.”

KU’s network of academic-based programs, leadership opportunities and career counseling programs is raising the university’s profile. In December, KU was selected to Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine’s Publisher’s Picks of colleges and universities that enable Hispanic students to succeed.

“I think the campus climate is just a lot more welcoming,” said Claudia Mercado, associate director of admissions and scholarships. “And it’s not just my office. There are tons of activities and support services.”

They range from weekly brown-bag lunch discussions sponsored by KU’s Multicultural Resource Center to federally funded programs such as the Biosciences Initiative, which is preparing 25 minority undergraduates for graduate school in biomedical sciences.

With revenue from recent tuition increases, the university in two years has beefed up a number of student services, including two successful academic-based support programs, using $300,000 generated by tuition revenue.

A year ago, KU’s HAWK Link, a student-of-color retention program, was cited by Noel-Levitz, an operating division of Sallie Mae, as one of the top three such mentoring programs in the nation.

The Multicultural Scholars Program, created by Renate Mai-Dalton, associate professor of business, to offer comprehensive academic mentoring, this fall was expanded from five academic units to eight. The programs—African-American studies, architecture, business, education, human development and family life, journalism, languages and humanities, and pharmacy—enroll about 80 students.

“The students do very well in our small group settings with support from faculty and peers who have similar academic interests,” Mai-Dalton said.

In 12 years, she said, the Multicultural Scholars Program achieved a remarkable 85 percent retention rate and a 77 percent graduation rate.

Last spring, the 50 students who were enrolled in its existing five programs compiled an average 3.3 grade-point average.

Minority enrollment: 3,281 students
Increase over 2002: 316 (record)
Minority first-year
retention rate: 81 percent
Minority first-time
freshmen enrolled: 520
Increase over 2002: 70 students

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