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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Academic Senate discusses enrollment, commencement

Photo by Keifer Russell
The university expects a decrease in enrollment in students from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

With the start of a new year comes the start of possible new initiatives for both current and prospective Marquette students. 

Coming together for their first meeting of the 2023 semester, the Marquette University Academic Senate met to discuss topics such as the university’s strategies to further increase enrollment and the proposal to shift the traditional Commencement date one week earlier, beginning in 2024.

The meeting kicked off with Alex Riley, director of institutional research, who introduced the university’s enrollment projections for future years. Through a series of data slides, Riley explained that the university is expected to experience significant declines in student enrollment from states such as Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota later in this decade. 

“It is certainly true that we have much more confidence in the years that we have coming up sooner than we have in the years such as 2028-2030,” Riley said. 

Brian Troyer, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, expanded on this issue and offered insight as to one of the reasons why Marquette should expect these declines.

“Overall, students and families are increasingly questioning the value of higher education,” Troyer said. “When surveyed, Gen Z tends to value higher education less than their millennial counterparts.”

To plan ahead for these enrollment declines, Troyer said that the university is especially going to focus on enhancing prospective student visits in the coming years. 

“Through having bilingual events such as one coming up this February and hosting multiple honors events throughout the year, we are really trying to improve our visit options for students,” Troyer said. “We’re also finding that having more small, tailored events is allowing students to come and experience campus in a way that they feel most comfortable.” 

Once the Senate wrapped up talk about their future recruitment plans, they moved on to discuss the implications of shifting the Commencement date. 

John Su, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Student Success, presented a list of policies that would be implemented alongside the Commencement shift. Among these included the notion that the deadline to submit grades would now be after Commencement. With this change, Su pointed out the potential concern that fewer faculty will be able to attend Commencement due to their grading obligations. 

Another concern that was further discussed involved the “Senior Week” events that typically occur prior to Commencement and how the date change could affect them. Normally, senior week consists of Baccalaureate Mass, senior send off with activities throughout campus, a unity graduation and more.

Ryan Lardner, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and the Outreach Vice President of the Marquette University Student Government, said that MUSG is doing its best to advocate for the student’s voices in regard to this proposal. 

“Right now, MUSG is researching past attendance and asking for some student feedback on what events they would actually attend during ‘Senior Week,’” Lardner said. “From there, we want to see how the students would feel about the Commencement possibly changing the traditional schedule.”  

Despite these concerns, Su said that shifting the Commencement date would have its positive benefits. 

“I’ve heard multiple rationales that have been articulated for making this change,” Su said. “For instance, Marquette students would be more aligned to graduating at the same time as other local institutions, and I feel that there is a benefit behind the idea that because students are able to leave a week earlier than they are able to get out in the world and take advantage of their life opportunities earlier.” 

Timothy Littau contributed to this report. 

This story was written by Erin Howard. She can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Erin Howard
Erin Howard, Copy Editor
Erin Howard is a sophomore from Clarendon Hills, Illinois and is studying journalism. This year, Erin will serve on the Marquette Wire as a Copy Editor. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys running and listening to music. Erin is very excited to get to know more people on each branch of the Wire and share the important stories happening around campus.
Keifer Russell
Keifer Russell, Staff Photographer
Keifer Russell is a junior from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin studying digital media and public relations and is a Staff Photographer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys rock climbing, photography (figures), as well as finding and listening to new music. He is very excited to further refine his photographic content over the next year

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