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View Full Version : Wilson College - angry and sad - she's gone co-ed



MyGiantPony
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:56 AM
The current administration and BOD made the decision to turn Wilson College co-ed.

I'm both saddened and angered by this. It was done in a back-door, underhanded way. I, and many alumnae, feel this is not in the best interest of the school and we are fighting it as we can.

What was once a special, unique school is now just a commonplace campus amongst many others - Shippensburg, Dickenson, Penn State Mont Alto, Gettysburg just to name a few.

I don't know that I really have much to say to generate a thread - guess I'm just venting. But if you support womens' colleges, please email the school and let them know.

clanter
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:08 AM
out oldest daughter went to Randolph-Macon Woman's College ...which went co-ed a few years ago.... many of the alumni have now transferrd their support to Sweet Briar College ...which is where our grand daughters will attend.

Texarkana
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:08 AM
Bummer to hear this.

Wilson was one of the colleges I seriously considered in high school. Wilson, Randolph-Macon Women's College, Hollins University, and Sweet Briar College were my top 4.

I ended up choosing Sweet Briar and am a proud alumnae. But now half that list has gone co-ed. There is something to be said for the quality of education at women's colleges. I am glad I got the opportunity. :yes:

clanter
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:24 AM
There is something to be said for the quality of education at women's colleges. I am glad I got the opportunity. :yes:

our daughter at 26 was made head training officer for a pharmaceutical company; her education at RMWC was exceptional... the day she walked into the phram company's lab she had to point to them that they were calibrating the test equipment incorrectly

Natalie A
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:37 AM
As a relatively-recent graduate of a women's college (Bryn Mawr), I wouldn't change my experience for anything. I didn't start out looking for a women's college, but it ended up being the perfect fit for me. It's always sad to see that tradition lost.

WindyIsles
Mar. 30, 2013, 01:29 PM
Proud women's college alumna (Hollins) and I know Hollins has been having it's issues lately with drops in enrollment and such. Such a pity - my education there was excellent and I adore my Professors beyond anything. It's served me well currently in grad school (and I got into ever school I applied).

Love, love all women's colleges. Seen so many girls blossom there and benefit from the environment in ways that a co-ed college just can't nurture.

PaintPony
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:23 PM
out oldest daughter went to Randolph-Macon Woman's College ...which went co-ed a few years ago.... many of the alumni have now transferrd their support to Sweet Briar College ...which is where our grand daughters will attend.

I also went to R-MWC and am sad that the all-women tradition has been lost. Although I do understand the decision behind it.

I never intended to go to a woman's college, but I wouldn't trade the experiencefor anything!

Bells
Mar. 30, 2013, 06:27 PM
Why did they decide to go co-Ed? Was there a drop in applicants? Falling enrollment? As an alum of a women's college (MHC), this is sad to hear.

Guin
Mar. 30, 2013, 06:49 PM
I work at a single-sex undergrad, coed for graduate college. The financial challenges are HUGE for undergrad. I can quote you statistics that are frightening. Out of all high school girls applying to college, only SEVEN PERCENT will even CONSIDER a women's school. And out of that seven percent, only TWO PERCENT end up going to one.
Your school is bent on financial survival. If they don't go coed, they might very well go out of business. Higher education in the United States is going through massive changes right now. The smaller schools really may not survive unless they start innovating.

Don't be angry at your school. Give them more money so they can attract better students.

clanter
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:01 PM
Why did they decide to go co-Ed? Was there a drop in applicants? Falling enrollment? As an alum of a women's college (MHC), this is sad to hear.

In RMWC's case the enrollment has fallen about 30% since it went co-ed from the 700s to about 500

The school does have an endowment of about $135 million so it isn't going anywhere soon but it will be without our grand kids

Bells
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:06 PM
Just googled it. Wilson is in very dire financial straits. I'm sorry to hear this but if they don't enlarge the student pool they will not survive at all. My sister went to a small women's college that had to close when they weren't able to survive even by going coed for the last few years.

Bells
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:09 PM
Clanter's point about the endowment is very good. MHC has a huge endowment from alums. Quite a bit of a college's strength is in the strength of giving by alums.

WindyIsles
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:24 PM
Clanter's point about the endowment is very good. MHC has a huge endowment from alums. Quite a bit of a college's strength is in the strength of giving by alums.

I feel like some of the all women's colleges struggling for enrollment could easily make themselves stand out and attract new women. Especially the ones with big endowments.
Look internationally.
Be more free with scholarships and grants (actually work with the students in times of crisis and need).
Cater to diversity - target first generation and/or low-income students who want to go to college but can't afford it (see again: scholarships).
Be LGBT friendly.
I feel like these steps would go a long way in both attracting students and building a dedicated alumnae body. Especially with the rising cost of college.

clanter
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:27 PM
I work at a single-sex undergrad, coed for graduate college. The financial challenges are HUGE for undergrad.


What is your school's graduation rate within four years? Most of the woman colleges graduate nearly 100% of the retained students in four years, not the five, six or seven years of the public universities' rate.... so the cost is less to attend a private womans college than public university

MyGiantPony
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:30 PM
Just googled it. Wilson is in very dire financial straits. I'm sorry to hear this but if they don't enlarge the student pool they will not survive at all. My sister went to a small women's college that had to close when they weren't able to survive even by going coed for the last few years.

The president is speaking out of both sides of her mouth. First she said the decision was based because of the huge debt, then in an interview on public radio she stated the debt was not unreasonable or unmanageable.

Guin
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:48 PM
It's not the debt. Wilson is tuition-dependent. It does not have a high enough endowment to spin off operating revenue. They have a 66% retention rate, which is abysmal. Don't blame the president or the trustees. It is the United States 2013 educational status. You are not looking at the facts. If it does not go coed, it will close. Do you want to be an alumna of a school that no longer exists, or one which has a chance of survival if it admits male students?

http://http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/wilson-college-3396





The president is speaking out of both sides of her mouth. First she said the decision was based because of the huge debt, then in an interview on public radio she stated the debt was not unreasonable or unmanageable.

Guin
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:50 PM
What is your school's graduation rate within four years? Most of the woman colleges graduate nearly 100% of the retained students in four years, not the five, six or seven years of the public universities' rate.... so the cost is less to attend a private womans college than public university

My school has a 91% retention rate and we are making ends meet. Wilson College's retention is 66%. The OP is delusional if she thinks it can remain viable without going coed.

Guin
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:59 PM
I feel like some of the all women's colleges struggling for enrollment could easily make themselves stand out and attract new women. Especially the ones with big endowments.
Look internationally.
Be more free with scholarships and grants (actually work with the students in times of crisis and need).
Cater to diversity - target first generation and/or low-income students who want to go to college but can't afford it (see again: scholarships).
Be LGBT friendly.
I feel like these steps would go a long way in both attracting students and building a dedicated alumnae body. Especially with the rising cost of college.

Where are these schools going to get the money to offer scholarships and grants? The endowments collapsed in the stock market crash of 1990 and have still not recovered. The interest rate on our endowments is around 2.5%. Schools have stopped soliciting gifts to their endowments because there is no return. The focus on giving is now current-use money to support financial aid RIGHT NOW.
It is frustrating as an education professional to read these sorts of comments. The general population does not understand the tuition vs. cost vs. endowment numbers that are RIGHT NOW. The entire scope of American higher education is changing drastically. In ten years it will not even resemble the "college experience" of the early 1980s. The four-year liberal arts schools are scrambling to reorganize themselves to remain viable for the next twenty years. Online learning, part-time students, and reduced financial aid are realities that will not go away.

People who complain that their colleges are "different" from when they attended fifteen years ago need to pay attention to what is happening in higher education now. It is a whole new ballgame.

MyGiantPony
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:00 PM
Guin, one of the issues is that this was done without valid research, without any attempt at marketing the school as a women's college, and straight out lies and misderection. There is now nothing special about the school. It's just another co-ed liberal arts school amongst a crowd.

President Mistick stated she was committted to keeping Wilson a women's college, then went back on her word without making any effort.

Dad Said Not To
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:23 PM
Wilson has serious hurdles to overcome with regards to recruiting students, be they male or female. The library is closed because the pipes leak, dorms are in disrepair, the pool has been unusable for years. The farm, the barns and arenas, and the new science center are about all the college has going for it with regards to facilities. The admissions department has been pretty poor about actively recruiting students, or even contacting prospective students who have expressed interest and would like more information or to arrange a tour. Making the decision to go co-ed without addressing the college's many issues is like slapping a band-aid on a filthy, infected wound and saying, there, that will make it all better.

Perfect10
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:24 PM
Sadly it seems that women's colleges just aren't something you come across very often anymore. There have been numerous rumors of Sweet Briar going co-ed since President Parker took over, but I can't imagine the board would allow that to happen. The alumnae and the students would certainly be in an uproar. Hopefully it will continue to be what it was intended to be- a place for young women to learn.

MyGiantPony
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:31 PM
Wilson has serious hurdles to overcome with regards to recruiting students, be they male or female. The library is closed because the pipes leak, dorms are in disrepair, the pool has been unusable for years. The farm, the barns and arenas, and the new science center are about all the college has going for it with regards to facilities. The admissions department has been pretty poor about actively recruiting students, or even contacting prospective students who have expressed interest and would like more information or to arrange a tour. Making the decision to go co-ed without addressing the college's many issues is like slapping a band-aid on a filthy, infected wound and saying, there, that will make it all better.

Exactly. There are so many things that need be be fixed from within. I've heard horror stories about the financial aid department.

WindyIsles
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:37 PM
Where are these schools going to get the money to offer scholarships and grants? The endowments collapsed in the stock market crash of 1990 and have still not recovered. The interest rate on our endowments is around 2.5%. Schools have stopped soliciting gifts to their endowments because there is no return. The focus on giving is now current-use money to support financial aid RIGHT NOW.
It is frustrating as an education professional to read these sorts of comments. The general population does not understand the tuition vs. cost vs. endowment numbers that are RIGHT NOW. The entire scope of American higher education is changing drastically. In ten years it will not even resemble the "college experience" of the early 1980s. The four-year liberal arts schools are scrambling to reorganize themselves to remain viable for the next twenty years. Online learning, part-time students, and reduced financial aid are realities that will not go away.

People who complain that their colleges are "different" from when they attended fifteen years ago need to pay attention to what is happening in higher education now. It is a whole new ballgame.

Guin I'm a VERY recent graduate of my undergrad (class of '11) so this is no '15 years past rose colored classes' and we just completed a HUGE endowment drive where we blew past our goals by a crazy amount - there's more than enough money in the bank.

And wouldn't you rather your university become one known for working with students, offering good financial aid - it's a return on investment. Students graduate with good feelings toward their universities and are more likely to donate and promote and network for the university.

Rather than seeing an exodus of high performing students (talking 4.0s) transferring due to the university refusing to work with them despite their drastic changes (deaths of parents) or being hostile to LGBTQ members of the community in a so-called promoted 'safe-space' among other things and the administration having a campus-wide reputation for being incompetent and uncaring.

Kryswyn
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:38 PM
Change Wilson to Virginia Intermont College in Dad Said Not To's post and you have VI's current status.

It had just gone coed when I started as a freshman in 1976. It had a thriving dance major and it's horsemanship program got good in '77 and just continued to thrive. But then an administration decided the college need a "sports team presence" and began recruiting kids who could play basketball, volleyball and GOLF and offering them free rides (unfortunate pun) while making no scholarships available to the riders who made VI's name. They didn't have funds to repair the dance studio, so that major was gone. There was no money to repair dorms, but money was found to expand the science hall. It is now on academic probation and they are frantically trying to haul their asses out of the fire.

Many of my alumnae are up in arms. There is a chance they can merge with another local college.

But 35 years ago VIC's board decided that in order to "save" the college they needed to admit men. It seems it only bought them time and the REAL problem was the Administration, which seems to be the problem at Wilson, too.

Guin
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:44 PM
Rather than seeing an exodus of high performing students (talking 4.0s) transferring due to the university refusing to work with them despite their drastic changes (deaths of parents) or being hostile to LGBTQ members of the community in a so-called promoted 'safe-space' among other things and the administration having a campus-wide reputation for being incompetent and uncaring.

If this is what is going on, the school has way more serious problems than remaining single-sex. Sounds like your administration is sinking like the Titanic. Where are the trustees? Why aren't the alumnae all getting after the trustees to revamp the administration? If the school is actively disobeying anti-discrimination laws, then you have an administrative crisis on your hands. That 66% retention rate is BAD. The school needs to fix that from the ground up, and apparently your financial status is only one of many problems.

The alumnae should be complaining to your accrediting organization.

http://www.wilson.edu/about-wilson-college/affiliations-and-accreditations/index.aspx

WindyIsles
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:56 PM
If this is what is going on, the school has way more serious problems than remaining single-sex. Sounds like your administration is sinking like the Titanic. Where are the trustees? Why aren't the alumnae all getting after the trustees to revamp the administration? If the school is actively disobeying anti-discrimination laws, then you have an administrative crisis on your hands. That 66% retention rate is BAD. The school needs to fix that from the ground up, and apparently your financial status is only one of many problems.

The alumnae should be complaining to your accrediting organization.

http://www.wilson.edu/about-wilson-college/affiliations-and-accreditations/index.aspx

Not the same same-sex college as the OPs. But especially in regards to LGBTQ students many of the same-sex colleges are having issues - and so many of the problems you see across the board are 'little fixes' that if improved would vastly help with retention rates, reputation, and heck alumnae giving.

Live down the road from another same-sex college that is lacking many of the problems plaguing some others and a lot of it doing so well is because it does - and did - take on many of the steps I outlined in a previous post. (My roommate is a grad student from China and when I asked how that same-sex college was perceived in China she went 'it's known to be a very good school.')

WindyIsles
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:57 PM
Double post