HSU Sees Record Enrollment, Big Diversity Gains - Humboldt State Now

HSU Sees Record Enrollment, Big Diversity Gains

Humboldt State University has posted multiple enrollment records for its Centennial academic year 2013-2014, including Hispanic-Latina/o students.

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Combined incoming freshmen and transfer students total an unprecedented 2,339 and the number of transfer students alone, 971, is a record.

Full-time students for the fall semester number 7772. The total campus headcount—all undergraduate, graduate, part-time and teaching credential students—is 8,293.

HSU’s first-year retention—the rate of returning students—improved markedly as well, to 77.5 percent from 73 percent a year ago.

Hispanic-Latina/o students now comprise 25.6 percent of enrollment, a level that allows Humboldt State for the first time to apply to the U.S. Department of Education as an official Hispanic-serving institution.

“That status reflects the fact that HSU’s student population increasingly resembles California’s demographics,” says Peg Blake, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “It enables us to apply for funding opportunities through the Department of Education and bolster student success.” The department offers large grants to finance curriculum and faculty development, academic programs, endowment funds, scientific and laboratory equipment and student support services, among others.

Overall, campus diversity has soared to 31 percent from 13 percent in the last decade, including 2013-2014.

The enrollment and retention records come on the heels of Humboldt State’s latest designation as a top western university by U.S. News & World Report and as a top master’s degree institution nationally by Washington Monthly.

For the fifth consecutive year, HSU is rated among the top 15% of schools providing comprehensive support of soldier students and spouses, according to Victory Media, the veteran-owned small business that publishes G.I. Jobs magazine and related journals.

These outcomes stem in part from restructuring and reorganizing academic programs and student support services, with a focus on faster graduation rates and improved retention. In particular, new efforts center on under-represented students, with more concentrated mentoring and academic advising, including in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“These achievements result from our expanding number of initiatives directed at student success and increased diversity,” according to Blake. “We are adopting new models of learning, teaching and technology in the classroom. We are evaluating learning effectiveness with new methods and expanding HSU’s student services to encourage retention and shorter time to graduation. Our year-old Retention through Academic Mentoring Program (RAMP) and our new early alert initiative enable us to identify effectively those students who need additional support, so that we can provide them with appropriate resources and support.”

Blake also cites HSU’s commitment to constant classroom interaction between faculty and students, students mentoring one another and the integration of student services underscoring family engagement, campus jobs and internships and community partnerships.

The university is offering and developing more online courses, encouraging team learning instead of lectures and breaking classes into small interactive groups that center on active problem-solving. “HSU students are exchanging and dissecting ideas with their peers, mentoring one another and sharpening each other’s critical thinking skills in real time inside the classroom and out,” says Blake. “These strategies are geared to a deeper understanding of student needs and how to meet them, irrespective of their personal backgrounds.”

Organizationally, the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs Divisions are restructuring student support into a new unit, Retention and Inclusive Student Success. It includes multiple Centers for Academic Excellence, focused on culturally-relevant academic and co-curricular support for students, particularly those from underrepresented populations.

For the long-term, HSU has just set forth its Campus Diversity Plan 2013+, an evolving framework of existing goals and future objectives aimed at institutionalizing diversity, equity and inclusivity. It is posted online at humboldt.edu/diversity