International and Hispanic student enrollment increases, progress made on diversity initiatives

Contact: Paulette Granberry Russell, Affirmative Action, Compliance and Monitoring, (517) 353-3922

Apr 16, 2004

East Lansing, Mich. - While total student enrollment declined in the fall of 2003 at Michigan State University, minority student enrollment increased from 16.4 percent to 16.7 percent, according to a recent diversity report.

Although the increase was modest, and there were slight declines in the enrollment of African American and Native American students, the university did experience an increase in the number of Hispanic students (from 1,220 in fall 2002 to 1,246 last year) and Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 2,196 in fall 2002 to 2,283 last year).

MSU's International student enrollment also increased from 3,202 in 2002 to 3,277 in fall 2003, according to the report.

The report, "Diversity within Community 02-03: Best Practices in Diversity," offers a separate narrative and data detailing progress and programmatic efforts to achieve and support diversity within the MSU community. The MSU Board of Trustees received the report at its monthly meeting today.

"Although the decline for African American students (from 3,675 in fall 2002 to 3,604 in fall 2003) and Native American students (from 298 in fall 2002 to 287 in fall 2003) was slight, any decline is reason for the university to reflect on its efforts," said Paulette Granberry Russell, director of the Office for Affirmative Action, Compliance and Monitoring, and senior adviser to the president on diversity issues. "The challenges we are faced with in terms of increasing the diversity of our student body are not unlike those of other institutions.

"One reason for fluctuations in student enrollments is the increased competition for students. In response, one of our efforts will be directed at contacting students earlier through outreach and recruitment and developing enhanced partnerships with K-12 schools through our various pre-college programs," she said.

MSU's women and minority academic work force figures improved from last year, as progress continues to be made in achieving diversity within the MSU community, according to the report.

With a net gain of 50 minorities during 2002-03, minorities now represent 19.5 percent of the total academic personnel system, up from 18.3 percent. The number of women increased during 2002-03 by 30, from 39.6 percent in 2001-02 to 40.3 percent for all academic personnel.

The report highlights initiatives implemented in 2002-03 and ongoing efforts designed to sustain diversity efforts made over the years in leadership, recruitment, retention, instruction, research, outreach and climate.

Among the conclusions of the report:

  • The percentage of minorities in the tenure system increased from 16 percent to 16.9 percent. The number of minorities increased by a net of 14, for a total of 328.
  • The SUPER Program (Summer University Program Excellence Required) was recognized nationally in July 2003 with the Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award, which honors resilient students who refuse to give up or give in to systemic barriers to academic success.
  • Campus Park and Planning improved campus accessibility for persons with disabilities by constructing barrier-free landscape improvements, including making the front entrance to the IM Circle Building more accessible.

For additional information on the Office for Affirmative Action, Compliance and Monitoring, visit the Web at