EKU's Danville campus has record enrollment

September 16, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

The Danville campus of Eastern Kentucky University definitely does not have the big-college environment that most state universities do. The enrollment, however, has jumped to just under 850 students, which is a 100-plus increase in the fall semester's numbers from last year.

"I decided to come here because I knew other kids who've gone and they were really comfortable" said freshman Andrew Cook, ... and truthfully, all kidding aside, the teachers and staff here are great." He refers with a hand gesture to Cindy Peck, the center director.

Peck stood by the students' sides, joking and laughing with them as they teasingly answered a reporter's questions with good-natured fun.

Chris Harris, a freshmen studying special education for the hearing impaired, said, "I'm here because I'd done some research online for a high school project and found that they have one of the very best programs for what I'm going into."


These are just a few of the freshman students who offered positive comments about the center. The center has been known for enrolling mostly non-traditional students (25 years old and older). However, the enrollment is 50/50 between the non- and traditional students for this semester.

"One of the reasons I attribute the enrollment increasing where traditional students are concerned is the fact that state universities' tuitions are steadily increasing due to budget cuts." She also mentions that the mixture of students within the classes, whether by age or experience, is a combination that teachers and students enjoy and benefit from.

Peck's enthusiasm overcomes signs of exhaustion as she effortlessly cites enrollment statistics, various programs and goals without a need for reference material. She is proud of the center's master's program in elementary and middle school education that has drawn in many non-traditional students, some of whom were recruited through an outreach program where the instructors collaborated in several different counties, including Garrard, Boyle and Casey.

Environment is "child-friendly"

Most of the students in June Hyndman's class not only have full time jobs, but families. The environment is "child-friendly," even hosting "Friday Flicks" where parents can bring their children to a designated classroom to watch movies.

Lisa Johnson just graduated with an associate's degree in early childhood development and quit her teaching job to attend the school full-time to obtain her bachelor's degree. She is also raising her own family. "I decided that getting this bachelor's degree was just too important, and I wanted to be able to devote my time for my BA in special ed." She also commented on the staff and the convenience of the location and parking.

"I think that non-traditional students, like myself, really need the extra attention and motivation that the Danville campus offers," said Carl Graham, chair of the student council.

Graham cited the many food drives, auctions and other projects the council has organized to help contribute money for scholarships.

"The kids that are coming to us out of high school have so many grants, funds and scholarships that they can apply for. We wanted to set aside something for those folks who don't necessarily have access to those types of resources," Peck said.

Also, through a "Jump Start" program, the school will allow high school seniors to gain college credit courses by offering one free freshman-level course for each semester. The program covers tuition, and the only cost to the students' are the books. Peck estimates roughly 40 high school students enrolled this semester.

Although the enrollment increase is welcomed, the growth has required some adjustment. Many of the graduate night classes have been moved to Boyle County High School due to lack of space. There are also "virtual classrooms" either online or by teleconferencing, where large-screen monitors are connected via satellite to classrooms on the main Richmond campus. The students in Danville may participate via video and sound, creating a "interactive TV room." "It's working better than I ever thought it would," Peck said.

Central Kentucky News Articles