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Mills closer to goals

Despite enrollment numbers being at a plateau, Mills’ strategic
planning goals for 2003-2007 are still on track.

According to the Strategic Plan for 2003-2007, which was
compiled by the new Strategic Planning Committee in 2002, one goal
of the institution is to emphasize the college’s commitment to
increasing diversity.

According to the numbers released from the Office of Research
and Planning this goal is steadily being met. Currently students of
color make up 34 percent of this year’s student body, which is up
from last year’s 28 percent.

An additional goal cited by the committee is to ” promote a
culture that appreciates diversity and approaches differences as
learning opportunities.”

Liza Kuney, director of student activities and first year dean,
strongly believes that Mills is reaching this goal.

“Diversity has definitely increased,” she said. Kuney applauds
the efforts of the Office of Admissions in promoting a cultured,
open-minded community.

“[We] are bringing people who fit Mills,” she said. ” I’ve been

Although the retention rate is down, 72 percent of first-time
first-year students returned this fall.

According to a Press Release from the Office of Research and
Planning, exit interviews indicated that most decisions to leave
were affected by the discontinuation of the Dramatic Arts and
German majors. External factors such as “the wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq and the national economy ” were also mentioned.

Another goal of The Strategic Planning Committee is to increase
undergraduate enrollment to 800 students and graduate enrollment to
500 students. This goal is close to being met as the number of
graduate students- of which 24 percent are male- increased from 443
to 475 this fall.

While graduate enrollment is up, undergraduate enrollment has
decreased from 763 to 735 women. The college attributed this the
fact that undergraduate enrollment in women’s colleges has been
declining throughout the late 1990’s.

Although undergraduate enrollment is not at its peak,
administration and faculty have expressed that there is new energy
circulating around campus bought on by excited students.

According to Mills crew coach Wendy Franklin, the students she
has encountered this year are more assertive.

” There’s a whole different attitude,” said Franklin. This is
not only athletically, but also socially and academically.

Kuney who deals with students on a daily basis agrees and said
that the difference between this year and 1995 is ” like night and
day” as far as the level of enthusiasm that students are expressing
toward school activities.

“There’s just no comparison between then and now,” she said.

According to Kuney, there are 40 student organizations, which
are at least 10 more than previous years.

There is also a full ASMC Board this year, which is another
indicator of the ambitious, proactive nature of the students.

“There’s definitely more positive energy,” said senior Mary Kay

“There’s a willingness to be active in the college. There are
enough institutions that promote the cut-throat. That’s not what
Mills does. We don’t want that from our alums and our student body.
We teach teamwork and social skills in an academic standing for the
business world.”

According to Myrt Whitcomb, the undergraduate acting dean of
admissions, there are currently students from 23 states and seven
countries outside of the Unites states studying at Mills who vary
in age between 16 and 61.