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CSU Bakersfield sees record enrollment, introduces new academic programs
September 12, 2011The doldrums of summer gave way to energy and vitality today as CSUB rolled out the welcome mat for a record 1249 first-time freshmen eager to begin their college careers. An additional 849 transfer students round out CSUB's largest enrollment ever.
"We have about 214 more freshmen on campus than we did a year ago," said Steven Watkin, CSUB's Director of Outreach. "This is great news as these students represent the future of our skilled workforce. These are people who are likely to positively benefit our community and its economy."
Increases in enrollment can be attributed to several factors. More than ever, students and their parents are realizing that an education is among the best investments someone can make and that obtaining a degree will help ensure marketability in a sluggish job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 the unemployment rate for those holding a Bachelor's degree was nearly half of that among those with only a high school diploma.
Universities are experiencing a new enrollment phenomenon as well. As state funding for the California State University (CSU) has been slashed in recent years, driving up tuition, local students are opting to stay closer to home as a cost-cutting measure.
Watkins added: "Some local high school students who might have otherwise planned to go away to college are instead pursuing their hometown university, staying closer to home to save money."
New Academic Programs
Also helping to bolster CSUB's enrollment figures is an unprecedented number of new academic programs starting this fall. In total, CSUB is ushering in 13 new academic programs — three new majors, two new certificate programs and eight new concentrations within existing majors — none of which required additional state funding to implement.
"Rather than waiting for state funding to advance our academic mission, CSUB has been very entrepreneurial, seeking federal funding, engaging unique partnerships, and making use of available resources that allow CSUB to move ahead in spite of massive funding cuts to higher education in recent years," said CSUB President Horace Mitchell.
For instance, CSUB pursued and received a $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010. This funding has allowed CSUB to offer its first-ever engineering degree this fall.
Dr. Mitchell stated, "For the past six years as I have been out and about in the community, the question I am unfailingly and most frequently asked is, 'What about engineering? This region needs engineering.' We are excited to be able to respond to a component of this need by offering our initial engineering program."
With more than 35 first-time freshmen and another 20 transfer students enrolled in the program, the new Computer Engineering major has been very well received by students and has far exceeded enrollment expectations thus far.
Another new major being offered is a Bachelor of Science in Global Intelligence and National Security. Funding by a grant through the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI), the pilot degree program is intended to prepare students for positions with Federal agencies like the CIA, FBI, Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security whose missions focus on intelligence gathering and analysis, threat evaluation, national security, and/or foreign affairs.
Following is a breakdown of all of CSUB's new offerings:
BS Computer Engineering
BS Global Intelligences and National Security (pilot program)
BA Human Biological Sciences (pilot program)
Certificate in Accounting
Post-Bacacalaureate Certificate Program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
BS Computer Engineering with a Concentration in Electrical Engineering
BA Sociology with a Concentration in Human Services
BS Biology with a Concentration in Biotechnology
BS Business Administration with a Concentration in Public Administration
BS Business Administration with a Concentration in Agricultural Business
BS Business Administration with a Concentration in Supply Chain Logistics
BS Chemistry with a Concentration in Management
BA Natural Sciences with a Concentration in Foundational Science