The class of 2016 is the second-largest class that the Knox campus has ever seen, so it is no wonder that the class is diverse. It is also proving to be as educated and ready to contribute to life at Knox as the classes before it.
There has been talk of growing the student body, but despite the size of this class, there were no plans to begin that process this year. In fact, the goal was only to maintain the current student body size.
“We recognize that growth requires planning,” President Teresa Amott said. “We needed time to plan. We’ll have this whole year to think about that.”
Amott explained that although this year’s incoming class was definitely larger than classes have been in recent years, this was only in an effort to maintain the size of the student body since the class that just graduated out was also considerable in size.
One way that Knox is preparing to grow over the next few years is the creation of a new position at Knox: Social Media Assistant with the Office of Communications. The creation of this title is timely, as Knox has been working to raise public awareness and to improve the school’s marketing system in order to draw new students.
“Part of this is trying to do a better job of identifying geographic markets and particular high schools where we can develop stronger relationships,” Dean of Admissions Paul Steenis said. “And so we refer to them as feeder schools. We’re slowly trying to cultivate and nurture relationships with high school counselors and teachers and alumni teachers in some of those schools.”
The eventual goal when it comes to building the class sizes is certainly to bring in more freshmen, but also to draw in more transfer students.
“They probably won’t comprise a large portion of the entering class, but if you say 10 percent of the entering class or so was transfer, I think that would probably be about the right number,” Steenis said. “So it’ll be about 40, 45 transfer students.”
“We’re trying to get people to come here in order to build the class and to build the community that we want,” Amott said. “So there are certain kinds of people we want. We want high academic achievers. We want people who understand our mission. We want people who are attracted by the social reformer, anti-slavery tradition of this institution.”
With the chance to grow and strengthen Knox, opportunities make themselves available to the faculty and staff, as well as the students for the upcoming years.
“I mean, it’s an opportunity,” Steenis said. “What do we want to strengthen? Do we want to strengthen our opportunities for career development? Do we want to find more internships? Do we want to strengthen some other aspect of student life: athletics or theater or whatever it might be? So to me it’s kind of a nice opportunity, for the faculty to think where they might want to add a position here or there to strengthen programs.”
With campus life, facilities and faculty expected to change and grow over the course of the next few years, the class of 2016 will have the chance to influence some of the steps Knox takes and will quickly make their own contribution to life at Knox. Amott noticed the amount of energy and excitement they still had at Pumphandle, even after their busy schedules during Orientation Week.
“I did think that the spirit of the class, the way people engaged with orientation when they signed up for opportunities, the interactions that I have with people, suggested to me that they were active, that they’re engaged, that they’re curious, they’re questioning, they are connected,” Amott said. “There was already a spirit of community building.”