Eberly College 2011 enrollment highest in WVU history
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 06:06
Nearly every student at West Virginia University has taken a class in WVU’s largest and fastest growing college: The Eberly College of Arts & Sciences.
Since 2003, The Eberly College has doubled in enrollment and expanded to include a wide variety of majors focusing on foreign languages, history, philosophy and science.
2011 marks the college’s highest enrollment ever at 6,099 nearly a fifth of the University’s total students.
But according to Eberly Dean Robert Jones, handling vast amounts of students is both a disadvantage and a boon.
"In the majors where there’s rapid growth, we’ve had to play catch-up," he said. This entailed the hiring of new professors and finding additional space. "But many of those majors are attracting high quality students with high aspirations," he said.
When it comes to hosting General Elective Curriculum, or GECs, Eberly carries the largest load of all the schools. However, Jones said the college refuses to cut back any smaller programs to ease the influx of students.
"We can’t just close down anything," he said. "We’d lose some of the richness we’d be able to provide to the University."
The Eberly College leads the University in what Jones calls "extracurricular activities." More students in the Eberly College participate in study abroad, internships and service learning than any other part of the University.
Jones thinks there’s even more room for the college to grow.
"We want every undergraduate major to do study abroad, research internships, and those sort of things," he said. "That’s a tall order."
The Eberly College’s most popular majors include biology, psychology and criminology. Jones believes student interest in these majors reflects a change in society.
"The 21st century has been dubbed the ‘life sciences century’," he said. "All of the frontiers of knowledge that really matter to humanity nowadays are studied through these majors."
Jones noted biology, Eberly’s most popular major, is a common starting point those interested in the health care industry. He also jokingly noted interest in criminology may have grown thanks to popular crime shows on TV.
"These majors are where the exploration of how life works," he said. "These have the greatest and most important impact on the survival of humanity and our future."
He believes this strikes a chord in students, attracting them to the school.
"These fascinating things hit home because we’re humans; we live," he said.
For more information on the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, visit http://eberly.wvu.edu.