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Graduate numbers increase

WSU graduate student numbers continue to climb for fall 2008. Tenth-day enrollment figures show 3,396 graduate students — up from 3,330 in fall 2007.
 
Enrollments showed the most growth on the Pullman (up 26) and Spokane (up 34) campuses while WSU Tri-Cities dropped by nearly 40 students. WSU Vancouver increased by 4.
 
“Over many years the Graduate School has focused on increasing enrollment, and this is a radical improvement,” said Dean Howard Grimes. “We are showing a 19 percent increase in total domestic (U.S.) applications since 2007 — with enrollment up by 66 students. Over the past five years, applications have increased two-fold.”
Ph.D. focus
Concerning Ph.D. students, Grimes said “the number of students is steadily increasing but the rate of slope should be higher.”
 
“We need to continue our focus on enrolling and graduating our Ph.D. students. This is our primary focus and ties in directly with the mission of the strategic plan,” he said.
 
New enrolled Ph.D. students have shown a 40 percent increase systemwide — from 169 in 2002 to 236 in fall 2008.
 
More minorities
Applications from international and minority students also were up this year, said Tori Byington, director of graduate planning and assessment. As of August, international applications had grown from 2,610 in 2007 to 2,702 in 2008.
 
Minority applications rose from 386 to 561 in 2008, comprising 16 percent of the total — up from 13 percent of the total in 2007. Grimes said this is due to the efforts of people like Steve Burkett, associate dean of the Graduate School, who focuses on minority recruitment.
 
He also credited marketing communications for helping raise the profile of graduate education programs across the nation, as well as university initiatives that highlight faculty research.
 
“We hope the departments will continue to do a good job,” said Grimes.
 
On the tech side, Byington praised the Talisma client management system, which interacts with prospective students who visit the Graduate School website.
 
“When they fill out a ‘request for info’ form, WSU sends them information on specific degree programs and other activities that may interest and engage them,” she said.
 
In addition, the CollegeNet online application system — in use for the past year — has made the application process much easier for staff and students. An enhanced version of the application will be launched sometime early this fall, said Lori Wiest, associate dean of the Graduate School.
 
For more information on enrollment numbers in the United States, refer to an article at www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/09/16/grad
 
More apply as scholars, fellows
WSU has seen an increase in applications from Fulbright scholars and Open Society Institute fellows.
 
For fall 2008, 27 people applied, said Pat Sturko, associate dean of the Graduate School. Five of those — four Fulbright scholars and one institute fellow — are enrolled at WSU. They are from Colombia, Germany, Russia, Laos and Tajikistan.
 
“This past year we have put a process in place to prioritize these applications,” Sturko said. “We want to let the applicants know as soon as possible whether or not they are admitted. We are competing with other universities to attract these students to our graduate programs.”
 
The Fulbright program provides a variety of grants for scholars to enhance their learning and research. The Open Society Institute is a private grant-making foundation that sponsors international doctoral fellows who plan to reinvest knowledge in their home countries upon completion of the fellowship.

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