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Bridge Michigan
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Shake-up in Central Michigan University admissions after enrollment drop

Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University has blamed complacency for its sharp drop in student enrollment over the past decade. Administrators have bluntly assessed the damage and the planned strategy going forward to get more students on campus. (Bridge file photo)

April 26: Q+A with Central Michigan University leaders on the plan to rebuild school
April 21: Citing cash crunch, Central Michigan University pauses new student housing

Central Michigan University, which is trying to reverse years of dropping enrollment, has had another shake up in its admissions department.

Kevin Williams, who had been the university’s director of undergraduate recruitment within the admissions department, had his last day on April 7, the university confirmed.

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“We can confirm that Kevin Williams is no longer employed by Central Michigan University,” CMU spokesman Aaron Mills told Bridge Michigan in a statement. He offered no other details on Williams’ departure, saying “That’s all we can confirm as CMU does not discuss personnel issues.”  

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Williams had been a CMU employee since July 1999. In October 2019, he became the director of undergraduate recruitment. He could not be reached for comment. 

The news comes as CMU is aiming to ramp up first-time student and transfer student enrollment for fall 2022 following a steep decline over the past decade, as Bridge Michigan reported last month

Earlier this year, the Detroit News reported the executive director of admissions Lee Furbeck left after her department mistakenly offered full-ride scholarships to 58 prospective students. It is also not clear if Furbeck resigned or was fired. 

Mills said the university intends to fill both vacant positions. The director of undergraduate recruitment reports to the executive director of admissions. 

In the meantime, Patricia Young has been named interim director of undergraduate recruitment. Young earned two degrees from the university, according to her Twitter bio. 

CMU’s vice president of student recruitment and retention Jennifer DeHaemers is taking over the job responsibilities of the position formerly held by Furbeck until the university finds a replacement.

DeHaemers joined the university in June 2020. She told Bridge late last month the university used to have a division of student enrollment and student success. In 2020, that division was disbanded and now there is the student recruitment and retention division and the student affairs division. 

In a recent letter to faculty and staff, DeHaemers blamed the university’s enrollment struggles — a 43 percent drop since 2012 — on  “a general sense of complacency” in the administration.   

As of March 24, the university had admitted 13,796 potential first year students for the fall. That is a 6.8 percent increase from the number of admitted first-year students the previous year. The university hopes to enroll between 1,950 and 2,000 total first-year students for the fall. 

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DeHaemers has outlined several steps for how she hopes to improve enrollment in the coming years.  At the same time, as Bridge has also recently reported, regional public universities across Michigan are feeling the strain of a more competitive market for Michigan’s shrinking pool of high school graduates

CMU President Bob Davies addressed the enrollment concerns in an email to the campus and in a recent blog post.

“No one individual, division, department or issue is to blame for where we find ourselves today, and yet we cannot pretend that this enrollment decline happened by accident or by surprise,” he wrote. “We are not focusing on the past; instead, we are openly and honestly talking about the steps that we are taking today, and acting swiftly to rebuild our enrollment with a sense of purpose and urgency.”

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