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ECSU eyeing multiple enrollment strategies

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, June 16, 2017

Elizabeth City State University is working on new program offerings in both conventional and distance-learning courses as part of its strategy to boost enrollment.

Information about the efforts, including plans for new programs in digital media and emergency management, was included in Provost Van Newkirk's report Tuesday to the ECSU Board of Trustees.

A planned digital media program is under review by University of North Carolina General Administration, Newkirk told the board. The university already has a television station, recording studios and radio station, and could partner with a new emergency management program to develop a meteorology curriculum that would prepare students for jobs in TV weather forecasting, he said.

Newkirk said he believes the digital media program will be approved by the UNC Board of Governors soon and could be in place by next summer.

The university also is moving ahead with its accelerated programs at four community colleges in the region: Halifax Community College , College of The Albemarle, Roanoke-Chowan Commuity College and Beaufort Community College. The accelerated programs are in criminal justice, social work and two-plus-two teacher preparation.

The two-plus-two program enables students to take the first two years of the teacher education program at the community college and then finish the program at ECSU.

Students recruited for the programs so far include nine in social work and five in teacher preparation at Halifax and three in social work at Roanoke-Chowan. All are students the university otherwise would not have enrolled, Newkirk said, because they are "place-bound" and wouldn't have come to Elizabeth City.

ECSU essentially has approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to have four branch campuses located at the four community colleges, according to Newkirk.

The university also has received a $213,000 grant from UNC General Administration to redesign 10 courses as eight-week online offerings. The courses include one in business; three in criminal justice; three in language, literature and communications; and three in social work.

Because of the grant, ECSU will not have to dip into other resources to redesign the courses.

"So we believe this will be a good thing for this university," Newkirk said.

Chancellor Thomas Conway said the accelerated online courses will help ECSU tap into the adult returning student market, which is a growing nationwide. ECSU wants to make inroads with adult returning students and the eight-week online course delivery model will help with recruitment of those students, according to Conway.

Newkirk’s report also included an announcement that the Department of Business and Economics’ accreditation had been reaffirmed. Also included was information about four new 18-hour certificate programs in economics, finance, project management and film.

The university also is working on multi-day continuing education courses that will award continuing education units. The fee schedule is being worked out for the courses.

Conway said the certificate programs and continuing education courses were things requested by people in the community.

"These are intended to elevate our engagement in and around the region," Conway said.

Harold Barnes, vice president of the Board of Trustees, said working with community colleges in the region makes a lot of sense. He also asked if the university has looked at developing a seamless transition with all community colleges in the state.

Conway said that is being worked on statewide.

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