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New Programs and Emphasis Options Ready for CMN Students in Fall 2015

 

Applications are now open at the College of Menominee Nation for Fall Semester 2015 and for new programs including an Associate Degree in Environmental Engineering Technology.

 

The College’s academic array includes three Bachelor’s Degree programs, with a fourth and fifth in planning stages for probable introduction in 2016. CMN’s established baccalaureate majors prepare students for teacher licensure at the Early Childhood/Middle Childhood Education levels, and for professional work requiring degrees in Public Administration or Business Administration. For the coming Fall Semester, the College’s B.S. in Business continues to offer an emphasis in Management and adds an emphasis area in Accounting.

 

“We have been strong in professional studies with education and administration majors,” says CMN President Verna Fowler. “As we look to the future, we see careers opening up for graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Current and prospective students are also interested in traditional liberal studies that can help them prepare for jobs in areas such as human services and broad-field communications. Degree programs that address those areas are still on the drawing board, but certainly look promising.”

 

Newest Major: Environmental Engineering

Current and new students don’t have to wait for the new Environmental Engineering Technology program, a two-year offering that begins in Fall 2015 and leads to an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree at CMN. CMN graduates will have automatic transfer to four-year environmental engineering technician programs at UW-Green Bay and UW Oshkosh. The CMN credits will also apply at to any UW campus for baccalaureate offerings in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering or related majors.

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes environmental engineering technicians as workers who test, operate and modify equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution, or work to mitigate sources of pollution. The Bureau sees the field as a faster-than-average growth occupation with an 18 percent increase between 2012 and 2022. One predicted boost to the field will come as agencies and municipalities focus on more efficient water use and wastewater treatment.

 

Program Alignments Address Market

National and regional issues are also informing the College’s on-going program reviews and changes.

 

A downward trend in enrollment peaked in 2013 for college and university enrollments across the U.S. and in 2014 for the College of Menominee Nation.

 

“Like higher education in general, we enjoyed an enrollment bubble for several years,” says President Fowler. “When the national economy declined, more people returned to school to add credentials, prepare for new career fields and in general become more marketable. As employment has opened up, fewer are choosing to pursue studies. It is certainly part of the long-standing cycle in higher education of several years up and then a leveling or decline. You can see it in the University of Wisconsin System and you can see it here. ”

 

For CMN, the bubble was reflected in an increase of about 21% in enrollment between Fall 2008 and Fall 2012. Enrollment began returning to earlier levels in 2013 and has continued into the current academic year, with Spring 2015 numbers at approximately 500 students.

 

CMN has also closely watched information from the U.S. Department of Education on the subject of gainful employment. DOE concerns have mostly focused on whether the proliferation of for-profit colleges that use federal student aid dollars are meeting their promises of preparing students for paid work in recognized occupations. “We are a not-for-profit college, but we have always scrutinized our offerings from a job market perspective,” Fowler says. “It is a particular challenge in an economically depressed area where there are fewer job opportunities in general, but we embrace the obligation and new gainful employment rules, nonetheless.”

 

Initiatives Right Size, Tuition Unchanged

The College is using a variety of initiatives to off-set the revenue declines attendant with lower enrollment and to sustain course offerings and services for its students.

 

Leadership has been realigning some operations, right-sizing staff numbers, and reviewing the academic and technical program array.

 

“It was especially painful to reduce staff positions,” President Fowler says, “but we still remain a strong community employer with nearly 175 employees.”

 

Of greatest interest to students and parents is the CMN Board of Trustee’s decision to hold tuition at $250 a credit hour, which has been the rate since Fall 2012, and to assure that no programs changes prohibit students from completing their chosen degree or diploma requirements. Fees are being adjusted in some science-based and technology-intensive programs having high support costs, but overall CMN’s student fees remain significantly lower than at most other institutions.

 

Fall Semester 2015 begins on Aug. 17 with degree or diploma offerings in 16 majors, including new and reconfigured areas of study. The College offers free, online application at www.menominee.edu and encourages prospective and continuing students to contact the CMN Financial Aid Office early to inquire about scholarships and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).