Washington State University experienced its largest ever fall enrollment in Spokane, with continued strength in the health sciences, design disciplines, nursing and education.

Enrollment in Spokane programs reached a headcount of 1,535 this fall, an increase of 7.6 percent over fall 2004.

Programs taught at the Riverpoint campus reached an all-time high of 753 full-time equivalent (FTE) students. The WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing reached an all-time high of 707 FTE (846 headcount) undergraduate and graduate students statewide, an increase of 19.2 percent over fall 2004. Of the statewide total, 444 of those FTEs (535 headcount) attend classes at the College of Nursing Spokane campus; growth in Spokane enrollment represents an 18.7 percent increase over fall 2004.

WSU Spokane Chancellor Brian Pitcher noted targeted investments by the state Legislature in high-demand professions as one factor contributing to the increased enrollment, along with growth in undergraduate programs.

“The Doctor of Pharmacy program added 20 students this fall thanks to high-demand dollars the state Legislature allocated to this effort,” Pitcher said. “The state and nation face critical shortages across the board in health professions, and the added enrollments in pharmacy and nursing help us address the need. They also fit well with our priorities for the Riverpoint campus, which is developing as a center for the health sciences in both academic programs and research efforts in partnership with Spokane hospitals.”

Pitcher also noted the interest in the bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and metabolism, with a number of students beginning their studies this fall and more than 40 students being advised toward completion of their prerequisite work at the Pullman campus and at Community Colleges of Spokane. The degree blends principles of exercise and nutrition to prepare graduates to work in wellness, prevention and rehabilitation programs, contributing to the spectrum of health professions programs offered by WSU.

The basic baccalaureate nursing program, offered in Spokane, Tri-Cities and Yakima, represents the largest percentage of the Intercollegiate College of Nursing student population and growth.

“Increasing the number of students in the basic program directly addresses the growing state and national nursing shortage,” said Dorothy Detlor, dean of the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing. “This effort has been supported by the Washington state Legislature through added funds to increase admissions in high-demand areas such as nursing. And more community college-prepared registered nurses are returning to school to complete their baccalaureate degrees and prepare for leadership roles in health care.”

Enrollment in the design disciplines grew at WSU Spokane, with a shift of third-year students in interior design from the Pullman to the Spokane campus and the enrollment of the first student in the Doctor of Design program.

Programs in education also continue to grow, with educators pursuing professional credentials, including the principal, program administrator, superintendent and school psychologist certification, and the ability to work toward a Doctor of Education degree as well.

At WSU Spokane, students of color represent 11.9 percent of total enrollment, up from 10.6 percent in fall 2004. Women make up 69.25 percent of the Spokane student body. Of students enrolled at the Intercollegiate College of Nursing, 15 percent represent students of color and 12 percent are men.

For more information, go to www.spokane.wsu.edu, or www.nursing.wsu.edu.