Meeting for the first time in 2019, the ETSU Board of Trustees assembled on Friday, Feb. 22, to tackle a packed agenda with a singular focus: Continue enrollment growth.

As it stands, little has changed regarding the university’s enrollment goals, which still aim to have 18,000 students enrolled by 2026.

“Our goals remain the same,” said ETSU President Brain Noland. “Our goal for the freshman class is 2,100. We may or may not get there. There’s a long time between now and August. Overall enrollment goal for the university remains 18,000 students by 2026, so our goals haven’t changed, but I think what we’re realizing is some of our strategies need to change.”

Noland also noted the potential for changes with how enrollment services are structured, as well as the potential for new initiatives aimed at growing enrollment.

ETSU Director of Veterans Affairs Antonio “Tony” Branchs also outlined plans to continue growing the university’s standing and enrollment with military-affiliated students. One of the subsets of the university’s 18,000 student goal is 1,000 military-affiliated students in the same time frame.

“We had a goal of 625 students by fall of 2018,” Banchs said. “We had 695–70 beyond our target. We have a goal of 663 students starting in fall 2019, and right now we could probably bust to 700 students – ahead of schedule to reach that target of 1,000 students by 2026.”

Also outlined with regard to university growth was the Department of Housing and Residence Life’s goal to have 3,500 students living on campus by 2025. This move could require expansion of current residence halls or construction of new ones, though Noland noted neither of those are being considered in the immediate future.

“It’s tough, and we’ve got our work cut out for us, but it could happen,” said Bonnie Burchett, director of Housing and Residence Life, in regards to potential construction projects.

Representatives from the Department of Housing and Residence Life also said they are planning for a 2 percent fee increase in 2019-20, which would be the first since 2014-15 as well as the implementation of an integrated campus housing and dining plan for all residence hall students and the exploration of a potential residency requirement for first-year students under age 21.

Also during the meeting, two ETSU professors, David Atkins and Jeff Snodgrass, were granted tenure with the rank of professor. Noland also noted that there will be a second Festival of Ideas in 2020 after this year’s inaugural event was deemed a success by the university.

Additionally, Noland announced the retirements of ETSU Chief Legal Counsel Ed Kelly, Noland’s Chief of Staff Jane Jones and Dr. Bert Bach, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Noland also received a new five-year contract that increases his salary by $58,000 that includes retention bonuses in year one for $50,000, $75,000 for year two and $100,000 for years three through five.