By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
WARNER — Online courses and interesting classes are drawing more students to Connors State College, said CSC President Dr. Tim Faltyn.
Though enrollment figures are not final, Faltyn said he anticipates a 3 to 5 percent increase in total enrollment for the 2013 fall semester. He said enrollment could “top off” at 2,400 for fall. Total enrollment in 2012’s fall semester was 2,336.
“We’re offering degrees students are interested in, and we’re offering more online courses taught by Connors faculty,” Faltyn said.
Enrollment in online courses has increased by 50 percent since last year, he said. Ami Maddocks, Connors director of college and community relations, said the college has about 1,401 actively enrolled users of online classes.
Many users also are taking traditional classes, Faltyn said.
“What we’re noticing is we don’t have many students taking completely online courses,” Faltyn said. “Many are taking online classes to help them achieve full-time student status.”
Connors is offering 48 online classes this year, Maddocks said.
Students also are interested in unique degree programs, including an Associate of Science Degree with emphasis in wildlife. Degrees also are offered in health informatics.
“That could be an IT professional in the health care industry,” Faltyn said. “We’re also doing quite a bit to update our agricultural degrees.”
One ag degree would be in purebred ranch operations, he said.
“Our goal is to be able to offer a degree online,” Faltyn said. “We’ve been successful at offering online courses. This would be the next step.”
CSC’s Muskogee Difference Health Care Scholarship is drawing many students, Faltyn said. The $300,000 program, funded by the City of Muskogee Foundation, began last fall. It covers tuition, fees and books for Muskogee County students seeking a health care-related degree. Students must agree to work in Muskogee County upon graduation.
“We hit our target enrollment quite a bit early,” Faltyn said, adding that the target was 40 students.
Eighteen students enrolled when the program began last fall and 18 are returning, he said. Faltyn said 22 new students are on the scholarship this year.
“The best part of this is our two-year commitment once they graduate,” he said. “We’re putting good workers into good jobs.”
Faltyn said Connors is “reaching out to health care providers to let them know it’s available to current employees.”
Faltyn said Connors’ Warner campus and Muskogee Port Campus have experienced significant enrollment increases while enrollment at the CSC campus at Northeastern State University-Muskogee is down. He said the decrease likely shows enrollment cycles, students possibly taking math and science classes early in their college careers.
“We have a lot of math and science classes at the Port Campus,” he said. “And we’re doing quite a bit of renovating and repairing at the Port Campus.”
Faltyn said enrollment at Warner could top off at 700 full-time students while enrollment at Muskogee’s campuses could be 1,500.
“We’ll probably top off at 175 to 200 students attending both campuses,” he said.
Faltyn said the Warner campus is undergoing renovations to accommodate its students.
Part of the Russell Hall dormitory is being converted into a temporary dining facility. It will be used when the student union is being renovated, he said.
A 400-person storm shelter also is being installed in the Russell Hall basement, Faltyn said.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.