The School of Graduate Studies at Memorial University is experiencing record enrolment in graduate student programs this fall.
With a 13.8 per cent jump in registration, Memorial is the academic institution of choice, for the latest crop of graduate students.
Many of the students enrolled for graduate programs are from Atlantic Canada and Ontario, but there is a sizeable international contingent, as well. The increase is likely related to the tightening job market due to the global financial situation, said Dr. Noreen Golfman, dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
“People are realizing that the job market is improved if they’re improved – and that’s everywhere, it’s happening all across Canada,” she said.
As of the first week of September, there were a total of 2,758 full-time and part-time students enrolled in graduate studies. That’s compared to the 2,415 graduate students enrolled in 2008. In 2007, there were a total of 2,302 graduate students.
The boost to this year’s recruitment levels has come from collaboration with several departments and divisions within the university. Co-operation between Student Affairs and Services, the Office of Student Recruitment, Computing and Communications and Marketing and Communications have all played a role over the past year and a half. Academic units themselves have also played an important role in contributing to marketing and recruitment endeavours.
Memorial’s competitive tuition and the Canadian recession have also been factors, but the active efforts of the recruitment team at the School of Graduate Studies is what put enrolment over the top.
“We hired the right people, built the right team whose sole responsibility was to go from a passive role to something much more sophisticated,” said Dr. Golfman. “We improved our website, to put it mildly – we now have a microsite – which encouraged an enormous surge of attention from prospective students.”
Besides tailoring the microsite to suit a graduate student’s needs – providing information about campus culture, the research environment and the specialties of the professoriate – there is also an indepth orientation session created specifically for graduate students as well, there is a push for a graduate student workspace standard and a career development service for after graduation.
As for which programs are drawing the most attention, Dr. Golfman said enrolment is up across the board. From the “booming” Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and School of Social Work, to the Faculty of Education and the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, to the faculties of Arts and Science, the recruitment push has paid off.