As Clarion University prepares to kick off its sesquicentennial celebration year, overall student enrollment numbers are up for the first time since 2009. After the first day of classes, enrollment stands at 5,256. The number of new students (undergraduates, transfers and graduate students) is up by nearly 100, the second year in a row that number has grown.
Dr. Todd Pfannestiel, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, noted that the areas of growth are in professional preparation programs, reaffirming Clarion's position as a leader in preparing students for successful lives and livelihoods. Programs showing the most enrollment growth are in business and in health and human services, including the four-year nursing program, which is at capacity for the second consecutive year, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which has doubled in enrollment. New programs in criminal justice administration and in nutrition and fitness also showed gains. Clarion's honors program was maxed out.
"More than simply turning the corner, Clarion University is accelerating toward a vibrant future in which students are choosing Clarion first for professional preparation," Pfannestiel said. "Students increasingly recognize that our programs in education, business, the health sciences and liberal arts continue to keep pace with new employment opportunities in the region. We are already starting to accept students for fall 2018, as well, and look forward to continued growth."
Improvements in student activities are contributing to a robust campus community, which attracts students.
"New to the Residence Life program this year are four Living Learning Communities," said Dr. Susanne Fenske, vice president of student affairs. "These communities, located within our residence halls, are designed to allow students with common interests to live together, and 185 students are participating this fall. The students who choose to participate in these communities engage in intentional programming designed toward their common interests. Conceptualized with input from students about their interests, these communities were so popular that some of them went into a waitlist status as early as last spring."