Developing Purdue Calumet’s new student market (Part 3 of 3)
By THOMAS L. KEON
Our Purdue Calumet future will be shaped by our ability to appeal to and penetrate a different student market from which we have recruited in the past.
Persistent full-time students
As we have reported of late, attracting successful, persistent full time students intent on earning a Purdue degree at our campus in a timely manner must drive our enrollment management strategy.
Indeed, our history is filled with wonderful stories of individuals who have overcome adversity and stretched themselves in extraordinary ways to earn their Purdue degree here. Many of these individuals graduated as older, non-traditional students, taking a class or two at a time while working, raising a family and, by and large, putting other aspects of their life on hold.
We could not be prouder of these individuals. They are the backbone of Purdue Calumet.
Competing with other regional universities
But this is a different time for a university that, by state directive, is transitioning into a different university—a comprehensive regional university. While there always will be a place here for those incredibly committed, non-traditional part-time students, our future depends on our ability to compete successfully for the type of persistent, full-time graduation-track students that other regional universities also seek to attract.
To be a competitive player in this market, we must be able to sell to these prospective students a Purdue Calumet that:
- Offers high quality, exciting, appealing academic programs and opportunities;
- Provides supportive services and resources for helping enable success;
- Connects them to vibrant job opportunities when they graduate;
- Engages them with an inviting campus on which they can spread their wings, enjoy university life and grow personally;
- Provides them appealing outlets for quenching their thirst of other interests as they pursue their education;
- Transforms their lives in exciting ways, rather than complicating and frustrating them; and
- Is distinctive and preferred to competing universities.
Better understanding what it takes
We must come to learn and know all we can about our competition and our new, target student market, so that, strategically, we can better understand how to attract our fair share of students—and then some.
As part of our legacy as a former northwest Indiana community campus, we understand that some qualified local students—those from within our new target market—just do not want to attend their “Hometown University.” Instead, they prefer to go to school away from home. But we also know a similar sentiment holds true in locales and communities across Indiana, the Chicago land area, the Midwest and beyond.
So opportunities abound for Purdue Calumet to grow and expand its new student market. It will require a university-wide effort. It will demand some changes in how we operate. It will necessitate that we reach out to our new student market in different ways. It is a new time for Purdue Calumet, and we must adapt.
Thomas L. Keon