More students are calling themselves Badgers this year.
Enrolment at Brock at the end of September was up by about 2.5 per cent or 450 students over last year. That includes undergraduate, graduate, degree, non-degree, and full and part-time students, carrying on the trend of increasing enrolment year after year at the University.
Brock has about 18,700 students – a small city compared to when Registrar Barb Davis got her bachelor’s degree here.
“It’s been steady growth and that’s post-double cohort,” Davis said. “I remember when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, we just had 4,000 students full-time undergraduate students.”
That’s roughly how many first year students attend the University now.
Growth has always been in the cards, though, even after the adjustment of the province phasing out the OAC year in high school, sending double the students to college and university initially.
Brock’s goal has always been to become a mid-sized teaching and research university with strong graduate studies programs, Davis said.
More students are also making Brock their first choice of schools to attend and even more of those are coming here with admission averages above 80 and 90 per cent, she noted.
Still, Davis isn’t expecting enrolment records to be set every September. Although there will continue to be minimal growth among first year students in the years ahead, the University has only so much room for more students.
The focus also has to be on ensuring current students get the most from their years here, Davis explained.
“It’s a combination of intake but it’s also important to ensure that students are moving through the system and completing their degrees successfully,” she said.
Brock will likely continue to grow in other areas, including online education or off-campus classes, she added.
Enrolment growth is also forecast in graduate studies with more program offerings in the works.
But balance is necessary in expanding graduate enrolment given Brock’s emphasis on a graduate experience that provides students with one-to-one supervisory attention, said Mike Plyley, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
“One of the best things about a Brock graduate experience is the mentorship students receive through working directly with faculty supervisors,” Plyley said. “A growing number of students are choosing Brock for that very reason. We want to be very mindful that our pace of growth is consistent with our ability to provide a quality supervisory experience.”
There are currently more than 1,550 graduate students at Brock, about two-thirds of whom completed their undergraduate degrees at the University.
Many graduate programs saw student numbers go up again this year, contributing to an overall enrolment increase year over year.
This is also the third year in a row that the number of full-time graduate students rose while those attending part-time dropped.
“We’re trying to figure out if that’s economic in nature or what it’s about,” Plyley said. “It may very well be that students recognize the value of a graduate credential in pursuing careers and are making graduate education a full-time commitment.”