An Important Shift In Our Community

In 1992, Chatham College consisted primarily of what is today Chatham College for Women. Fast forward to the fall of 2013, and the university now provides a broad range of degree and non-degree seeking programs to both men and women culminating in a total headcount enrollment of 2,170 or 1,715 in FTE (full-time equivalent)* students.

One of the largest issues facing the university’s future and very important to the ongoing discussion is how to address this reality:

As of Fall 2013, degree-seeking enrollment in Chatham College Women only represents 30% (541 students) of the university’s total headcount enrollment and 34% (522 students) of FTE enrollment**. This means that graduate and online programs—and quite critically to this discussion, their students—represent 70% of our current student body.

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At the same time, given the enrollment numbers of CCW and the growth in our graduate and online programs over the past twenty years, the make-up of our alumni community has also changed significantly. Today, CCW alumnae make up 60% (6,086) of our active alumni community with graduate and online alumni currently at 40% (4,173). Based on enrollment projections, graduation patterns and other considerations, the number of graduate and online alumni will surpass the total number of CCW alumnae within 3 to 5 years.

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This shift in the makeup of Chatham’s student and alumni populations poses serious questions to the future of the university concerning resources, strategic priorities, our alumni community and the overall student experience on campus. It is also one of the primary reasons why we have launched this initiative, and must pursue increasing critical mass in undergraduate education (to the 800 to 1,000 enrollment level) in order to bring it more in-line with our graduate programs enrollment.

At the same time, it reinforces other announced proposals to reorganize the university into more traditional schools, organizing around academic disciplines rather than types of students. This will help us better leverage, align and share resources across graduate and undergraduate academic programs.

*Full-Time Equivalent is a measurement of enrollment that helps factor in all part-time and full-time students. The full-time equivalent (headcount) of the institution’s part-time enrollment is calculated then added to the full-time enrollment headcounts to obtain an FTE for all students enrolled in the fall.

**These numbers may be slightly different than previously reported numbers in the media as they remove any non-degree seeking students and contract nurses taking classes in CCW.