About Manchester

Weekly Update - November 5

From: President <President@manchester.edu>
Sent: Thursday, November 5, 2020 1:18 PM
To: All Colleagues <AllColleagues@manchester.edu>
Subject: Weekly update - Nov. 5

Dear Colleagues,

The mantra for the next three weeks is, “Let’s go home safely.” It’s a message that I heard a college president share during our weekly Independent Colleges of Indiana Zoom call. “The goal,” she said, “is to be healthy when we go home for Thanksgiving so that we don’t endanger family or disrupt the holidays.”

It resonated with me. We have worked hard and done well this semester and are two and a half weeks away from moving back to remote learning. We had a significant setback this week, a reminder that we can’t let down our guard.

Keep up the good work and let’s go home safely.

Undergraduate student retention

We canceled Conversations with Cabinet this week and invited colleagues to submit questions they wanted to ask. In response, we received a set of questions about undergraduate retention. Here are the questions and answers:

  • What are we doing to brace for lower first-year retention, just recognizing that the college experience is significantly different than what many students expected, largely because of COVID? – This is a real concern and challenge for us. Our spring enrollment is usually about 8 percent lower than fall enrollment. That includes mid-year graduates, new students coming in and students leaving. This year we budgeted for a larger decline and have several financial scenarios that include significant declines. We’ve said that we need to see how the year develops before loosening budget restrictions and this is one of the significant variables we are watching.  
  • Are we able to get any updated numbers on how many students we have lost since we started? How many have been flagged for considering transfer? – We have had six students withdraw and have flagged another 28 who have indicated plans to withdraw or transfer. All of these students are getting extra attention to help them succeed and continue at Manchester.

Undergraduate students on campus after we return to remote learning

We will continue to have some students on campus after Thanksgiving. Some are unable to return home, others need reliable internet connections or technology, and some have campus jobs that will continue.

Students who need to stay on campus for academic reasons should contact Jane Webb, assistant director of residential life at EJWebb@manchester.edu

Supervisors should contact Brandee Estes, director of Human Resources, at BJEstes@manchester.edu, on behalf of students who need to stay on campus to work.

Holiday celebrations

If you’ve been here over the holidays, you know that we like to celebrate together. This year, we won’t be able to celebrate face-to-face during open houses and we’ve had to reimagine our holiday dinner. Watch your mail over the next week or so for a coupon that you can redeem for baked goods at Nordmann’s Nook here in North Manchester or one of two Rise’n Roll locations in Fort Wayne. You can use the coupons throughout the holidays. Like our holiday dinner, this is funded through a generous gift from the Board of Trustees.

Thanks for all you are doing to get us to Thanksgiving and send our students home safely!


Dave McFadden
Manchester University