AddRan and Harris College show largest increases in enrollment

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    According to the official fall statistics released by the university, the AddRan College of Liberal Arts had the largest enrollment growth from fall 2011 to the current semester, increasing by 146 students.

    Dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts Andy Schoolmaster said he was pleased with the growth and that the large amount of time and effort put into their updated web presence contributed to the 10 percent increase.

    "It is our window to the world," Schoolmaster said. "We want to look good for not only prospective students, but for prospective parents."

    The updated website includes testimonies from AddRan graduates discussing their current job positions and how a degree in liberal arts from the university was beneficial, Schoolmaster said. 

    "What employers want are problem solvers," Schoolmaster said. "The biggest problem that we deal with today are problems that deal with people. Social conflict, religious conflict, political differences and economic issues are all people problems and we focus upon people in the humanities and social sciences."

    The Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences gained 63 new enrollees during the same time span. 

    According to Dr. Paulette Burns, dean of the Harris College, the college's numbers are still trending upward despite growing from 1,055 in 2010 to the 1,217 students currently enrolled. 

    Despite the doubling of speech-language pathology majors in recent years, Burns said, the largest growth is in nursing. Burns said the 205 nursing undergraduates in 2001 has grown to 763 undergraduates this year, because of immediate job opportunities available to students after graduation due to nursing shortages.

     "When you look at the number of people without healthcare, the number of chronic diseases people have these days and the obesity epidemic, there's just simply not enough providers of almost any kind of the health care in the next 10 to 20 years to take care of the health care needs," Burns said.

    Despite an enrollment loss of 7.4 percent, Mary Martin Patton, dean of the college of education, said education majors have to be thinking long term, too. 

    Patton said she is aware of the myth that there are no jobs in teaching, but expects that to change in the next 10 years with the retirement of the baby boomer generation.
     

    "That is very short term thinking," Patton said. "Fifty percent of the teaching force are baby boomers. There are going to be tons of jobs. We need to find a way to train more teachers because the demand will be huge."

    As for the other university colleges, the Neeley School of Business grew 4.6 percent, the College of Fine Arts increased 2.8 percent and the College of Communication declined 4.5 percent.