By Elise Svoboda
Although Eastern has been known for being a school for teachers since 1906, the College of Education has recently seen a drop in enrollment.
“The undergraduate enrollment to date in the College of Education is down 7 percent, and the graduate College of Education is down 20 percent from this time last year and the largest drop in education in any area in the university is in the graduate program in the College of Education,” said Dr. Janna Vice, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
Vice said one reason why the programs are down in size is because of major restructuring because of the educational standards changing in Frankfort.
“What it [the changes in Frankfort] did was focus on leadership rather than an area of content,” Vice said.
Another factor is competition with other universities.
“Students can go to smaller, perhaps closer schools, our competitor schools, and get the courses they need to complete their certificate mandated by the state,” Vice said.
Bill Phillips, Dean for the College of Education, said, “there has been a major shift in the admission standards for teachers throughout the state and throughout the nation.”
“There are some dynamics happening in Kentucky, and national, impacting enrollment,” Vice said.
Phillips said the economy also has an affect on enrollment, especially at the graduate school level.
“There are very few scholarships up for graduate students…they are paying their own way,” he said. “They may have grants to help them with that, but, during an economic downturn, people look at how they will spend their money, and so, I believe, a lot of the graduate students are saying, ‘I’ll just wait a little longer before I start a graduate program.”
Vice said there has been a decrease in enrollment in all the colleges at Eastern except the College of Justice and Safety, which has seen an increase. The only university in Kentucky to experience an increase in fall enrollment was Morehead.
Phillips said he looks to a future where enrollment will go up.
Phillips said getting a master’s degree is a state requirement for all teachers and will be used as a recruitment tactic.
“We will do everything we can to go out and personally recruit teachers particularly within our region that have to have a master’s degree within five years,” Phillips said.