Concordia's enrolment has gone up by nearly 3 per cent this year. This compares favourably with the other Quebec universities, most of which are seeing a slight drop, including McGill.
The Faculty of Arts and Science put an extraordinary effort this summer into early indications of a significant drop in enrolment, and continues to focus strongly on the recruitment and retention of its students. The push began in July, when early figures for admissions and returning students to Arts and Sciences programs became available.
In response, Dean Martin Singer mounted an energetic advertising campaign and sent letters to returning students who hadn't yet registered. The application deadline was extended by one month (from July 15 to August 15), and independent students (not taking a formal degree) were actively recruited.
This effort involved many people, including the Office of the Registrar, Admissions counsellors, and
the Marketing Communications Department, as well as the Dean's Office. In addition, Donald Chambers, as Arts and Science Enrolment Officer, performed a close analysis of enrolment in each department of the Faculty.
These efforts resulted in a virtually complete recovery of lost ground, in the sense that Arts and Science has about the same number of students in its classrooms as last year.
Vice-Dean (Student Affairs) Fran Shaver will address the challenge of keeping Arts and Science students in their programs to graduation. The Faculty will also establish an external advisory board comprising people who can provide support and community feedback, an innovation that has already been of great help to the other three Faculties.
The latest figures show 10,616 students enrolled in Arts and Science undergraduate programs, more than 300 fewer than last year. However, the number of independent students has increased, and approximately 80 per cent of them take Arts and Science courses. More than 2,000 students are in independent programs, a considerable increase. Almost all are studying part-time.
In addition, since many students in the professional Faculties take multiple Arts and Science courses, the number of Arts and Sciences students is much higher than figures for those in Arts and Science programs would indicate.
Both of the professional Faculties report substantial increases. Commerce and Administration shows a 10.5-per-cent increase in full-time enrolment, notably from francophone CEGEPs. There are 4,366 undergraduates in Commerce, at last count. Engineering and Computer Science has seen a leap in enrolment of more than 8.4 per cent, for a total of 2,218 students.
Fine Arts is generally stable, with a small decrease in full-time enrolments and an increase in part-time enrolments. Currently, 2,106 students are in Fine Arts programs.
Figures for graduate students will be made available later.