Ohio Wesleyan University administrators are working hard to build student enrollment numbers, pondering the big picture while focusing on small details that can make a difference, like how the school gives tours to potential freshmen.
The Office of Admissions is going mobile, changing its walking-only tours to part walking and driving with its newly acquired 14-passenger bus. Public Safety officers will provide additional driving practice to student tour guides.
With the current enrollment figures coming in at a marked decrease of 106 students from Fall 2013, the admissions staff is altering their tours to include a bus ride.
As one student drives, another will dispense information, describing OWU’s assets, its academic and residential buildings and information about the city of Delaware.
Alisha Couch, director of admissions, recruited PS by asking PS Director Bob Wood to help with driver training. For now, two sessions are scheduled on Nov. 11 from 12-1 p.m. and Nov. 12 from 2-3:30 p.m.
“We knew we’d have students driving it, so I thought it would be nice if Public Safety could set up an obstacle course in one of the empty parking lots just for our students to get used to driving, and specifically practice making right hand turns,” Couch said. “Chances are, no student has driven a vehicle like this before.”
Couch said the extra practice isn’t required but is going to be offered so students can feel more comfortable. With the exception of a few senior student tours guides who already have van certification, admissions staff is currently driving the tours until more students are certified.
“We were contacted by admissions and asked if we could put together some kind of driving program. We said what we always say, ‘Sure’,” Wood said.
It’s not their first rodeo together.
“Bob is such a great advocate for our office. We just met with him recently when he gave us some updates and he asked if there was any way he could help and I was like ‘Maybe you could help us with this’,” Couch said.
Wood said police officers usually receive additional training in defense driving. Drawing from personal experience and from PS officer Ramon Walls’ Army experience driving buses and tanks, PS will plan a series of cone obstacles for students.
“I talked with the Delaware Area Transit Agency and they have a two week training for their bus drivers, so (a representative) is going to send some of the diagrams so (PS) is going to put some cones up, ” Wood said.
Driving safety is relevant due to a risk for vehicular injury or death, Wood said. Van certification is also processed and approved through PS, while the motor pool houses the vans and maintains them.
The new bus has more room than OWU’s 12 passenger vans and is being leased for six years.