Dan Woods spoke with Southeast President Carlos Vargas on September 20, 2016. They discussed several topics including the new Rust Center for Media and about the freshman enrollment increase for the fall semester.
Dr. Vargas said that the university is very excited about the new Rust Center for Media and noted its special significance for the Rust family. He noted, "It was the result of the efforts that Gary and Wendy's sons have put in motion to try to honor their father."
The Mass Media Department's production facilities lab will be moved from Grauel building on the main campus to the new center, located at 325 Broadway in Downtown Cape Girardeau. Students will be able to interact with professionals from the Southeast Missourian and KFVS 12.
Dr. Vargas believes the center is a unique opportunity and puts the university in a position to be an engaged institution. He said, "Institutions increasingly are being asked to show how they are engaged with the community that they live in and so that's an example of that."
On the topic of the start to the fall semester and a record number of freshman and a record retention rate, Dr. Vargas said it is always challenging to know the exact cause of the success but he attributed part of the success to marketing. He said, "I believe the recent effort and culmination of our branding initiative, our marketing efforts, has actually contributed. I think the community, the region in general, has seen the university as being more visible and I think we have made an effort to communicate more explicitly and effectively the kind of institution we are -- which is a high quality institution."
Dr. Vargas noted that the community has responded well to the university's efforts and that the 10% increase in freshman is significant. The university's headcount overall is about the same as last year.