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Monday, December 21, 2020

Top ten CLA facts and happy holidays

In a normal year — i.e., a year that is not 2020 — I would have delivered State of the College remarks early in the fall semester. This year, it seemed best to move those remarks to the spring after we’d made it through the fall and had some better sense of the state, University, and collegiate budget and fiscal situation. 

Two years ago we introduced the State of the College Data Deck, designed to provide an overview each fall of important information about the college. The 2020 edition is now available. My thanks to CLA Chief Financial Officer Brent Gustafson for his extensive efforts pulling the deck together and for his prodigious patience when I would suggest yet one more tweak.

Visit the Neighborhood’s Data page to view the Data Deck. The deck organizes into three sections; (1) information on faculty and staff (slides 1-11); (2) information on graduate and undergraduate students, majors, student credit hours, degrees conferred, and program rankings (slides 12-26); (3) fiscal and budgetary matters (slides 27-37). 

In the spirit of ubiquitous end-of-the-year lists, here are 10 observations from the data and information in the Data Deck, in the order they appear in the slides. 

  1. CLA faculty, staff, and students have become more diverse over the past ten years.
  2. The proportion of incoming freshmen who identify a CLA major as their first choice, currently 72%, has increased by about ten percentage points as the overall number of undergraduates has declined. 
  3. There’s been a transformational change in retention rates and graduation rates. The four-year graduation rate in CLA increased over a 15-year period from around 30% to nearly 70%. 
  4. Summer course enrollments declined by one-half over roughly a decade. Summer 2020 was a major increase over summer 2019 but is not fully represented in the chart due to the fiscal year starting July 1. 
  5. CLA students take 37% of their credits outside of CLA. This percentage has stabilized in recent years, but is still 11 points higher than about a decade ago.
  6. The college has five programs in the Shanghai rankings top 20, 6 in the top 30, 7 in the top 40. Fifteen CLA programs or fields are ranked by US News.
  7. We are increasingly reliant on tuition as a revenue source, with 73% of our revenue in fiscal year 2020 coming from tuition. 
  8. Once cost pools are subtracted — those are the charges we pay for University resources such as the libraries — about 92% of CLA spending is for personnel. 
  9. Expenditures from sponsored research are now typically in the $20 million range annually, about double what they were 5-10 years ago. With the exception of the Carlson School of Management, grant expenditures are a smaller proportion of total spending in CLA than at other undergraduate colleges at the U. 
  10. Annual expenditures from donated funds are up about $5 million dollars, an increase of over 40% from ten years ago. 

That’s just a start to what you’ll find in the data. I encourage you to take a look and explore. When I am asked about the use of data in CLA, I say that I want to ensure we are data-transparent and data-informed about the work of the college. I always welcome your thoughts about how we can do each better. 

My best wishes to you and yours for a happy holiday season and a wonderful and joyful start to the new year.