Friday, October 31, 2014

Eichner says OU surviving nation’s rough economy

By COURTNEY SERVAES, Herald Staff Writer | 11/10/2009

It’s been challenging, but Ottawa University President Kevin Eichner says it’s been a good semester for the university.

“It’s always a challenging time, but our people have really stood up well,” Eichner said. “We’re having a good year.”

It’s been challenging, but Ottawa University President Kevin Eichner says it’s been a good semester for the university.

“It’s always a challenging time, but our people have really stood up well,” Eichner said. “We’re having a good year.”

Eichner said despite economic problems, the university has managed to come up with a record-breaking enrollment this fall, which has helped the school financially.

In September, the university recorded a 16-percent overall increase in undergraduate new student enrollment at its seven campuses and online classes.

“We’ve seen substantial increases in the number of students,” Eichner said. “We’re in pretty darn good shape.”

Because of the university’s good standing, Eichner said it currently is not on a hiring freeze, unlike many universities in the area.

“We’ve been doing a fair amount of hiring,” he said. “Particularly in enrollment management and in our advisory areas to support students.”

Unlike Ottawa University, Dale Ernst, dean of the Ottawa campus, said Neosho County Community College’s Ottawa campus is being more conservative in terms of hiring.

“We’re on a hiring freeze for full-time faculty members,” Ernst said. “If we need an adjunct, we can hire for those needs.”

Ernst said Neosho currently has a large contingent of adjuncts — but that’s not uncommon.

“There are certain things we’re doing without,” Ernst said. “We only spend what is absolutely necessary.”

In addition, Ernst said the college is trying to make the most out of its money.

“We value the public dollar and are trying to make it stretch,” he said.

Eichner can relate to that logic — he said the university only is spending what it already has.

“We’ve had a good fall,” he said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work.”

Eichner said the university has been trying to focus on student support, which has helped the university financially.

“We’re feeling pretty optimistic,” he said.

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