Davenport Slims Down Locations

April 22, 2008
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CALEDONIA — Competition for students from community colleges and private rivals has prompted Davenport University to make plans to shutter six locations.

Davenport Vice President for Academic Services David Fleming said the decisions to pull out of Indiana and to close four spots in the Thumb were part of an overall re-assessment of resources. Davenport’s main W.A. Lettinga Campus is in Caledonia.

“I’d be hard-pressed to say it’s just simply the economy; that usually helps us,” Fleming said.

“It’s just an incredibly competitive market out there right now. Even the community colleges, they eat up a large number of associate level students.”

By the fall, Davenport intends to close locations in Bad Axe, Bay City, Lapeer and Romeo, Public Relations Director Sue Squire said. Together, those locations enroll about 700. She said those students will be directed to Davenport facilities in Flint, Midland, Saginaw and Warren, plus a new location in Livonia that is slated to open this fall, she added.

Davenport is closing locations in South Bend and Merrillville, Ind., its only facilities outside Michigan. Squire said enrollment between the two sites has been around 300.

“It was a business decision reached after careful study,” she said. “The enrollment has been declining, and we need to have adequate enrollment to offer a meaningful class schedule.”

No date has been set for closing the Indiana sites, Fleming said. He said faculty will be surveying students there to determine how close they are to graduation, and may even offer one class there if it will help them reach that goal.

“We also were having trouble offering a healthy schedule at those smaller locations in the Thumb area. The same issue also was prevalent in Indiana,” Fleming said. “The key issue is just how to efficiently offer classes to students.”

Students were notified by mail, e-mail and handouts from faculty.

“We’re encouraging them to get to their advisers to look at ways we can utilize online classes or close locations,” Fleming added.

Staffing also is being assessed and some may transfer to other Davenport locations, he said.

“Anybody who can’t work with that, we have Human Resources helping them with the transition,” Fleming said. He said he was uncertain how many staff members may be affected.

The Livonia location, set to open in the fall, offers 40,000 square feet with 26 classrooms. It is near the Seven Mile Road interchange with Int. 275.

Davenport University serves about 12,000 students in classrooms and online. Once the changes are complete, it will have 15 locations plus the Lettinga Campus.

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