Akande Invites Students to Go Back to Their High Schools in Hopes of Reaching Enrollment ‘Sweet Spot’

BY KAELY FITTERLING
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Westminster President Dr. Benjamin Akande held a town hall meeting in the Marsh-Jones Dining Room Tuesday morning, to engage students in “revitalizing” the college. Akande devoted the bulk of the meeting to presenting “Going Back to Your High School Day,” an April 7 event in which Westminster students can visit their high schools and discuss the “honest perspective about college life.” He said that he invites students to share experiences and advice related to athletics, challenges in the classroom, study habits and things to do for fun.


Going Back to Your High School Day is one of a few strategies that Akande and other staff members are going to employ in hopes of increasing enrollment to a “sweet spot” of 1,200 students. According to the college’s website, there are currently 876 students enrolled at Westminster.

Students interested in participating should contact a teacher or administrator from their high school and send a personalized email to coordinate their event. Participants can spend a full or half day presenting in a classroom, speaking at an assembly or talking with the high school students at lunch. Akande said that participants will be provided sufficient materials for the event, including a PowerPoint template and 100 personalized business cards .

Participants can spend a full or half day presenting in a classroom, speaking at an assembly or talking with the high school students at lunch.

Any Westminster student can sign up for the event by accessing a link on the college website’s home page, below the top two panels, or in a March 12 email from Akande. The registration deadline is tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Going Back to Your High School Day is “not a numbers game,” Akande said. “If we get five students to sign up and go, we’ve won,” he said.

“If we get five students to sign up and go, we’ve won.” -Westminster President Dr. Benjamin Akande

Sophomore Ali Perry said that she “would definitely be interested in doing something like this,” especially because it is scheduled for a Friday, so she can stay at home that weekend.”

“If it was on a Tuesday, I wouldn’t go,” she said.

Participation in the event qualifies as college duty and warrants an excuse from classes, but Akande said that participants should notify their professors and ask about assignments in advance. He also said that the college will reimburse gas expenses at $0.51 per mile for destinations in Missouri and its eight bordering states and will pay for food purchased that day, provided a receipt.

In an email, Akande said that he will hold a meeting this Wednesday at 7 p.m. to “discuss details with all of those who have signed up.” The email does not specify a meeting location.

This is only the first phase of a “Back to High School Days” recruitment plan, according to Akande. He said that he hopes to get useful feedback from participants and will try to implement an improved version of this plan each semester.

At the conclusion of last Tuesday’s meeting, Akande discussed new forms of communication at the college and announced his new, weekly office hours. Students can meet with him in Washington West from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on March 15, March 29, April 4, April 13, April 18, April 27, May 2 and May 9. No appointment is necessary.

Akande Office Hours Table

TABLE BY JIM MALVEN.

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