Enrollment rates at Missouri Western are on the rise and students and teachers alike have much to say about the progress.
Joseph Bragin, provost and vice president for academic affairs has been working alongside many other staff and faculty members in increasing student enrollment. According to Bragin, Spring credit hours are up seven percent from last year.
“This means Western is growing at a good clip and students are taking a greater load,” Bragin said. “Both are significant measures of progress. For this past fall the increases were over 3 percent so it appears the growth trend is accelerating which is anticipated due to the increasing economic dislocations.”
Western has worked to increase enrollment rates.
“Enrollment increases are due to additional undergraduate degrees such as the Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Studio Art,” Bragin said.
Although enrollment in graduate programs has barely begun, Bragin attributes the new Master’s degree options as another contributor to growth as enrollment in these programs are growing 25 percent or more annually.
“MWSU is also offering more financial aid which is likely to increase even more with the increase in Federal Pell grants funded by the stimulus legislation just passed by Congress and anticipated increases in funding for the Access Missouri program,” Bragin said, commenting on the Stimulus bill just passed into law by president Barack Obama.
Bragin also pointed out that MWSU has also been hiring additional faculty to help with the increase of new students.
“We have been hiring lots of new faculty who are developing new courses and new approaches to courses already on the books and are bringing their experience with the latest in technology and disciplinary knowledge to the courses they teach,” Bragin said. “For example most of the faculty in the Steven L. Craig School of Business have been hired in the last three or four years and CSB is expected to be accredited by the Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business, the most prestigious business accrediting body in the world, next year.”
Bragin and Western have many plans to keep enrollment rates on the rise.
“We hope to increase our allied health enrollment if the state passes the Health Care for All Missourians legislation this year and expansion of classroom facilities in Remington Hall will accommodate further growth in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science,” Bragin said.
Students at MWSU are also thrilled with the prospect of more students for many reasons.
Rachel Snead, a junior, is very excited about the increase of enrollment rates.
“I think it is a good thing not only for the University but also for the students who attend MWSU because it raises the profile of our school and thus makes us more known to those around us,” Snead said.
Melissa Boerkircher, an MWSU sophomore thinks that a rising enrollment is a good thing, especially since it may help the University in gaining more parking spaces.
“Since Missouri Western became a University the school has made a point of raising its standards, although there is still much to be desired in the parking department,” Boerkircher said.
Bragin said Academic and Student Affairs is currently working with regional community colleges to facilitate transfer of students from two year programs through dual admission to both institutions and through articulation to ensure transfer credit for work taken at a two year institution.
“We are also developing international student programs and are working with a number of students from Europe, Asia and the Middle East who want a Western degree,” Bragin said about increasing the amount of foreign students that attend MWSU.
Bragin and other University officials have many plans to help build MWSU reputation as well as its student body.
“We have recently concluded an agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs to bring their training camp to Western’s campus which will bring national attention to the University and bring in additional in-state as well as some out-of-state students,” Bragin said.