Home Featured News GRCC board of trustees discusses dropping enrollment and workforce diversity

GRCC board of trustees discusses dropping enrollment and workforce diversity

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2014.9.15 Board Meeting_03
The GRCC Board of Trustees settle in before their meeting on Monday.

By Sean P. Mulhall – Editor-in-Chief

The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees discussed low enrollment and faculty diversity at Monday’s meeting.

Lisa Freiburger, Vice President of Finance and Administration, updated the board on the low enrollment numbers at the college. When preparing the budget for the 2014-15 year, the finance department anticipated billing units (number of credits students are in enrolled in) to be down around two percent. As of today that number is 7.6 percent.

This translates to close to a $2 million gross revenue loss, with an annual impact to the operation budget, for the entire year, of almost $1 million, Freiburger said.

She reassured the board she expects that no money will be drawn from the reserve fund, but instead the deficit will work itself out.

“The difference between those two numbers ($1 million and $2 million) is … the section reduction that our academic team does to manage enrollment and student requests for classes,” Freiburger said. “As enrollment numbers come in less than we had planned, our academic team looks at section offerings and section need, based on student demand and reduces those sections until they are appropriate. That does help to reduce our bottom line.”

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Lisa Freiburger, VP of Finance and Administration at GRCC, fills in the board of trustees about enrollment numbers.

Next, GRCC’s Executive Director of Human Resources delivered the workforce statistics report.

The workforce statistics report reflects the college’s progress toward equal employment for everyone and contained five years worth of data, from fall 2009 to fall 2013.

“(As of Nov. 1, 2013) our workforce consisted of 666 employees,” Wilson said. “Females represent 52 percent of our workforce.”

She told board members that minorities made up 20.6 percent of the workforce.

The 2011-14 GRCC strategic plan was to hire a full-time workforce that reflected within 5 percent the demographics of the student population they serve. The student minority population had risen from 23.9 percent in 2009, to 24.5 by fall 2013. Compared to other two-year public colleges GRCC exceeds the average of 15.5 percent.

“The demographics of our institution reflect well compared to the demographics of the students that attend the institution and the demographics of Kent County,” GRCC president Steven Ender said after the meeting “We have been working very hard to recruit and hire people of color in to our faculty positions. Of the 52 hires we made for the faculty (this year), I think eight or nine were minority folks.”