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Welcome week at Dominican University is a big deal. The weekend before classes begin, the parking lots and dormitory hallways on the school's main campus are overflowing with staff, resident assistants, orientation leaders, student "muscle movers" in bright orange T-shirts and parents. The pomp and circumstance is all for the much-anticipated arrival of the freshman.
At 509 students, the school's first-year class is making Dominican history. The school has also seen a 20 percent increase in the number of transfer students this fall.
The increase in this year's student body is due to three strategies the university put in place "that made a positive impact on enrollment for the fall," writes Glenn Hamilton, assistant vice president of undergraduate enrollment, in an email:
• A search strategy that targeted seniors in high school and community-college transfer students.
• The addition of a men's intercollegiate volleyball team to the list of athletic programs.
• Focused attention on recruiting students with interests in particular majors and programs.
In addition to the school's marketing strategies, a nursing program is in the works that the administration expects will encourage more students to apply in 2014.
"We just hired a new executive director of nursing, and she is here to implement the program and get it started and get it approved by the IDFPR (Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation)," said Ann Hurley, interim vice president of enrollment management. "Our intent is to have a Bachelor of Nursing program beginning next fall."