Enrollment at Chesapeake College may reach 3,000 students for the first time this fall if current trends continue through the end of the registration period. The college already has more than 2,900 students enrolled, surpassing the record high of 2,856 students that was set last fall, said Richard Midcap, vice president for enrollment management and student services.
Midcap said the college has seen opening weeks where it has registered another 150 students or more. About 40-percent of the students currently enrolled are full-time students. While the 40-percent includes full-time students of all ages, Midcap and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Economic Development Kathryn Barbour said over the last five or six years, they have seen an increase in full-time traditional students coming straight from high school.
Adding to the draw of Chesapeake College, said Midcap and Barbour, are the diversity and practicality of the academic programs and the ongoing revitalization of campus facilities. Midcap noted that the college just reopened the Kent Humanities Building, an $8-million project that saw the entire building gutted from the inside with extensive renovations to all 10 classrooms, the formation of a centralized faculty suite, and significant enhancements to the Louise Cadby Studio Theatre and the building’s facade.
In the last few years, the college also has added a number of certificate programs and a few degree programs that Barbour believes are contributing to the increase in enrollment. One of the popular additions is the education transfer program, which enables students to transfer their credits from the first two years at Chesapeake as a package to any University of Maryland teacher preparation program. Another addition is an environmental science transfer program, which will soon include certificates in green technology that can be used to go right into the workforce.
While academic programs and updated facilities are factors in the increased enrollment, Midcap said the recession also has played a role. Midcap is pleased with the rate of enrollment, but said it has caused some difficulties, especially since no new faculty has been added to accommodate the increase. Some adjunct faculty has been added to help take the load off the full-time instructors, but Midcap said the college does not have plans to hire any full-time faculty in the near future.