The influx is welcome as the university begins a push for thousands of new students in the next decade. About 3,100 first-time freshmen are expected to enroll. The total a year ago was 2,819 and the record is 2,935 in 1997.
The fall semester kicks off with the annual faculty convocation at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 16, in Wright Auditorium. Classes begin Wednesday. The quality of the incoming class, measured by SAT scores and high-school grades, is equal to previous classes, said Dr. Richard Ringeisen, vice chancellor of academic affairs.
Because other categories of students, such as transfers and readmits, are expected to drop, total enrollment this fall will probably be about the same as last year, when 17,799 students enrolled. The university has set a target of 25,000 to 27,000 students by 2008, and increasing the size of the freshman class is critical to reaching that goal.
Manny Amaro, director of housing, said that all residence halls are at capacity for the fall. The university has 5,200 beds on campus this year, fewer than in some years because Jarvis Residence Hall is off-line while undergoing renovation. There is ample room in the private housing market off campus to accommodate all incoming and returning students, Amaro said.
As in recent years, the campus will be abuzz with numerous construction projects. Initial site work on the Science and Technology Building is expected to begin in September with relocation of roadways, erection of a construction fence, and utilities work. A $4 million renovation and expansion of the Student Health Center will begin soon. Design work is under way for the West End Dining Hall.
Bids on the Strength and Conditioning Center to be built adjacent to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium are expected in November. The Reade Street parking project, which added paving, lighting and landscaping to three gravel lots, is open for student parking this semester.
In addition, the university is updating its East campus facilities master plan and in conjunction with Pitt County Memorial Hospital is preparing the first master plan for the medical campus. A new master's degree program in occupational safety has been approved for the campus, and requests to establish a doctoral program in bioenergetics, a master's in criminal justice studies and a master's in occupational therapy have been submitted to the University of North Carolina General Administration.
New department chairs have been named in academic units across the campus. In the College of Arts and Sciences: Dr. Ronald L. Mitchelson is the new chair of the Department of Geography. He comes to ECU from Morehead State University and he also has been a faculty member at the University of Georgia. He holds a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at buffalo and a doctorate from Ohio State University.
Dr. Michael Poteat, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and assistant dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, will become interim chair of the Department of Communication, effective Aug. 2. In the School of Education: Dr. James O. McDowelle is the new chair of the Department of Educational Leadership. He is an associate professor in the department, and is a former public school teacher, principal and superintendent. He came to ECU from Appalachian State University, where he was chair of the Department of Educational Leadership. Dr. Nancy Zeller, an associate professor, is the head of the Department of Foundations, Research and Reading. She has been a faculty member since 1992 and previously was a higher education policy analyst for the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Dr. David Powers, a profe
ECU News Bureau