GREENEVILLE – A focused recruitment plan and continuous outreach have resulted in about a 44% increase in new students at Tusculum University for the fall semester.
Tusculum has enrolled 490 new students entering the start of the 2023-24 academic year. This is an increase of about 150 students from a year ago and includes traditional residential and commuter undergraduate students as well as graduate, online and dual enrollment students.
Classes began Monday, Aug. 21 at Tusculum, Tennessee’s first higher education institution, with new academic programs to complement those already in place.
“These tremendous numbers demonstrate the hard work by our admission team and colleagues throughout the university to share the value of a Tusculum education with prospective students,” said Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president. “We are blessed once again to have students in this cohort who are from around the world who will receive an active and experiential education in a caring Christian environment that will prepare them to be career-ready professionals and advance in their careers.”
Tusculum achieved success in recruiting in part due a strategic decision by Dr. Jacob Fait, vice president of enrollment management and financial aid. Looking at data from prior years, he concluded Tusculum would be best served if the admission team focused primarily on recruiting students in Tennessee who are not athletes. He entrusted the Athletic Department to take the lead on athletes in Tennessee and in other states.
The Office of Admission visited every high school in Tennessee and maintained a steady communication flow with prospective students. The admission team answered inquiries and applications from people in other states who responded to different recruitment methods. Dr. Fait received assistance from other sectors of the university in executing this recruitment plan and conveying the message that Tusculum is the right choice.
“We are thrilled with the outcome and pleased that these students will study at a university that is an excellent fit for them,” Dr. Fait said. “We will further examine our recruitment approaches to ensure we continue to achieve success in bringing students to Tusculum. Our university is an outstanding place to earn a degree, and we anticipate the numbers of new students will remain high in future years.”
Emilie Foster, who is from Greeneville and graduated with the Heritage Homeschoolers Co-Op, plans to seek a major in communication and possibly a minor in psychology. A commuter, she decided to come to Tusculum because of Steve Schultz, a friend who previously worked in the Office of Admission is now director of Tusculum Arts Outreach.
“He did a really amazing job of convincing me how good this place is,” Foster said. “I was about to go somewhere else, and in the middle of the orientation, I realized that I needed to come here. I just connect with everything here so much – the people, the area and the vibes. It’s all so good. There is friendliness and openness here. You can just say what you need, and people are happy to help.”
Foster was impressed when Schultz told her about “The Tusculum Review,” the university’s international literary journal. She also has an interest in theater, and Schultz mentioned that she could assist with that at Tusculum.
Two other new students are Dakendrew Marshall and Justin Lewis, who are from Hollywood, Florida, and have known each other since elementary school. Marshall is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the management and entrepreneurship areas of business administration, to be followed by a master’s degree and a career in cybersecurity. Lewis is seeking a bachelor’s degree in sport science with plans to become a trainer. In addition to their studies, the pair will play football at Tusculum.
Lewis said he wanted to be part of the winning culture at Tusculum, not just on the athletic field but through friendships, the community and the ability to build his faith. Marshall liked the opportunity to study in a new place out of state.
“It can help me stay focused,” Marshall said. “It gives us a different motivation to focus and lock in on what is really important and get it done. We’re on a mission. There are a lot of opportunities for me to participate in activities on campus, and I feel like it’s a good campus and where I should be.”