College of Heath and Sciences continues to grow

Anne Buie

Following its official start in the fall of 2010, the College of Health and Sciences has increased its enrollment from around 1,600 students to more than 2,600 this fall, Dean of College of Health and Science Fred Whitt said.

In addition to growing in number of majors, the college has also had a significant increase in student credit hours.

Over the past three fall semesters, including this fall, the student credit hours appear to have increased 40 percent.

While the final numbers for fall 2012 have not come in, it appears the college has grown another 20 percent, Whitt said.

“Our growth indicates a commitment of Appalachian to serve the region in a meaningful way,” Whitt said.

In the social work department, undergraduate and graduate students with social work majors have just about doubled at Appalachian within the last four years, Lauren Renkert, the interim chair, said.

Renkert said she is “delighted” about the growth, that took place not only at the university but in Hickory, N.C. and Morganton, N.C. as well. 

The department of nutrition and health care management has grown not only in majors but additionally with minors as well since 2010, Sarah Jordan, the department chair, said.

Jordan said the growth is “exciting.”

“It’s a nice problem to have,” Jordan said.

To accommodate the growth, faculty in the college have stepped forward and taught additional classes and have admitted more students in existing classes, Whitt said.

Additional sections were added and part-time faculty was hired as well, he said.

But the continuous budget cuts have been a “painful” as the college continues to grow, Whitt said.

“We made every effort not to adversely affect the educational experience of our students,” Whitt said.

Whitt said he hoped the economy would improve so the college could obtain financial support for a new building.

The college also needs additional full-time faculty in many of their program areas, Whitt said.

But Whitt said the university is reviewing faculty needs in all areas and anticipates having the funds to hire additional faculty for next year.

“I am biased, but I think our CHS students get a first class education second to none, and are taught by a gifted and student centered faculty,” Whitt said.


Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Editor