LIVONIA, MICH. - In the midst of the global pandemic, Madonna University reopened for face-to-face instruction and faculty and staff welcomed the largest freshman class in the school’s history at 282 students, according to Ian Day, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Chief Operating Officer. “We are beyond happy to have enrolled a record number of freshmen, particularly during this tumultuous time, and when the number of college-age students is declining across the nation,” Day said. “Additionally, we have the highest residential population at 373, and despite a national concern that students would not return due to the coronavirus pandemic, we saw that the percentage of students who returned after their first year remained the same as last year (76 percent).” The total student body of new and returning students is 2,787 thanks in part due to a double-digit percentage increase in our Exercise and Sport Science, Sport Management and Nursing programs.
Day attributes the rise in enrollment to a combination of factors including new academic programs, Madonna’s longstanding reputation for academic excellence, and a vibrant campus life for residential students. The new residence halls, opened in 2018, provide more capacity for students to live on campus. “Living on campus enhances the college experience for our students,” Day said.
During the last five months of delivering courses totally online, Madonna University workgroups developed the Madonna Cares reopening plan to safely open campus for on-ground classes in compliance with all federal, state, and local mandates. Classrooms were rearranged to allow for social distancing, hand sanitizing stations were installed near all entrances across campus, food service was made contactless, and the spirit rock was painted to remind everyone to mask up. Technology was installed in classrooms to accommodate split classes in which part of the class attends in person, while the professor live-streams the class to students remotely. Courses also are offered in hybrid and online formats.
New on campus this fall is a Health Center, established solely for activities related to COVID-19, including, including testing, contact tracing, safety protocols, and education. A Chief Health Officer (CHO) was appointed to oversee the Center’s efforts, and a contact tracing mobile app was launched to enable the CHO to quickly notify students and employees if they come into contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.
The addition of football attracted new students as well. The inaugural football season has been rescheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2021. The Madonna Crusaders now compete in 22 men’s and women’s sports in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Students also returned to a new bookstore in the Franciscan Center that offers a plethora of Madonna gear and school supplies, as well as Textbook Butler; a service that automatically orders the needed textbooks when a student registers for class.
Inspired by the Felician Sisters, who founded the University nearly 90 years ago, and who suffered an incredible loss during the pandemic, Madonna students, faculty, and staff have committed to care for one another to ensure a safe and successful academic year.