By Valerie Bustamante
The new medical school will open next summer but declining enrollment in other areas is making the University of the Incarnate Word more mindful of its general budget, the acting president said.
“Our budget is tied to our enrollment and so we really are dependent on making our enrollment in order to make our budget,” Dr. Denise Doyle told a packed crowd in CHRISTUS Heritage Hall Oct. 27, many of them munching on Bill Miller’s breakfast tacos and barbecue sandwiches.
Doyle discussed the budget and enrollment issues during her first “State of the University” address where she focused on UIW’s past, present and future.
The report about the School of Osteopathic Medicine, set to greet its first class in August 2017, was much rosier.
“We opened applications for the School of Osteopathic Medicine on June 2,” Andrea Cyterski-Acosta, associate dean of admissions for the medical school, said. “As of this day, we have over 4,000 students that have started some part of the application and that has whittled down to 2,200 completed applications that we are beginning to work with. We’re continuing to review applications from now until April.”
As of last week, at least 750 applicants had gone through a series of “multiple mini-interviews,” Cyterski-Acosta said. “We are heading in our third weekend of interviews. We are interviewing 160 students over a two-day period. I call it ‘speed dating for medical school,’ but it’s been a very interesting process.”
The medical school’s first clinical rotations should begin in July 2019 and its first graduation in May 2021.
As for the rest of UIW, Doyle reported projections for enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate level were not met. The fall undergraduate enrollment was at 4,170 students, with a 150-student decrease. And spring semester enrollment is projected to go down by 160 students.
Although the online enrollment has flourished, the downfall in the undergraduate and grad enrollment caused a reduction in the school budget by $2.3 million, Doyle said.
“We have other pockets of money to help balance the budget, but I think it really is important to us as a community to realize that we are in a situation where we have to be really careful about our expenditures,” Doyle said.
“We have to be very mindful of the importance of enrollment and retention of our students. This is something that we have lots of people working on, but I think it is something we need to share with you all in terms of the state of the university.”