Conn Library

STUDENTS ENJOY Wayne State College's Conn Library, which was recently renovated and expanded.

WAYNE — Wayne State College welcomed 727 new freshmen to campus this fall — the largest class of new students since 1995 and the third largest since 1970.

But that’s not all.

The college also saw a 14.8 percent increase in new transfer students with 240 this fall and a 24 percent jump in graduate students to hit 660 this semester.

New facilities combined with new graduate, undergraduate, online academic programs and partnerships, along with travel opportunities and a robust scholarship program for students are driving the interest in Wayne State.

“We are tremendously excited about our enrollment numbers for fall 2018,” said Wayne State President Marysz Rames. “The increase in freshmen and 10 percent increase in overall enrollment came from excellent and sustained work throughout the college.”

One of the highlights of the record year has been the opening of two new facilities and the anticipated opening of a third this winter.

As a recent Daily News story highlighted, the campus’ Criminal Justice Crime Scene Investigation Facility opened this fall. The $350,000 lab facility will provide a variety of academic experiences. The renovated Memorial Stadium press box also opened this fall. And the Center for Applied Technology (CAT) will be opening this December.

The center will serve as a hub for programs of study such as manufacturing management, safety management, and industrial technology education. The CAT will deliver education for industry, provide a career academy for local school districts, and serve as a regional center for innovation and workforce development.

“We have opened a new academic year full of optimism that our enrollment growth reflects a recognition among students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends that Wayne State’s programs, partnerships, and facilities combined with the most affordable tuition of any four-year college in the region make us a great choice for an excellent education,” Rames said.

In addition to new facilities, Wayne State added three new programs for graduate students.

The new fully online master’s degree in special education, designed to help professionals and districts meet the needs of students with exceptional abilities and their families, offers four pathways, including initial certification, additional certification, advanced study, and supervisor.

The Cross-Curricular Education (MSE Curriculum and Instruction — Instructional Leadership focus area) masters program is designed for those seeking an advanced degree in curriculum and instruction with a cross-curricular education emphasis.

The Public Administration Management (Master of Science in Organizational Management focus area) degree program is for working professionals who want to serve the public through strong leadership and effective, well-developed policies and services. This program will help develop the skills and techniques needed for management careers in public service, non-profit organizations and the private sector.

“The tremendous growth in our graduate programs reflects working professionals’ confidence in our rigorous curriculum, the affordability of a Wayne State graduate degree, the excellence of our faculty, and the outstanding vision and leadership of the deans of each of our four schools,” said Steven Elliott, vice president for academic affairs.

Alongside the addition of several new graduate programs, Wayne State has added several new undergraduate academic programs during the past year.

New paths for students among the college’s 130-plus programs of study this year are forensic science, which is a double major combining chemistry and criminal justice; manufacturing management as a concentration in industrial technology; and a pre-athletic training program that puts students on the path toward an athletic training degree.

During the past two years, Wayne State also responded to the needs of the Nebraska workforce with the addition of three fully online undergraduate programs.

Wayne State’s online criminal justice degree lets students fit a college education into their schedule to advance their career in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, court services, asset protection, corporate and private security, and juvenile justice.

The college’s online business management degree program lays a foundation in organizational knowledge, problem-solving, and decision-making, all through coursework, application projects, and case studies. An online human resource management degree from Wayne State will train students to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the management of people within organizations by learning human resource practices that support the organization’s business strategy.

Several new partnerships also resulted in new academic programs for Wayne State.

The college’s new Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering programs in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will provide a solid foundation for students as they complete their first years of course work at Wayne State before transferring completed credits to the UNL to complete their engineering degrees.

The accelerated nursing program, a partnership between Wayne State and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, will prepare students for a variety of nursing careers: educators and faculty, managers and administrators, mental health and counseling.

Through this program, students will obtain their bachelor’s degree in the field of choice at Wayne State, then complete a year of classes to receive a nursing degree through UNMC.

“The increase in new students for fall 2018 is a direct result of very strategic and intentional marketing and recruitment efforts. Yes, it is the admissions office that serves on the front line to prospective students, but we do not do it alone. It takes a campus to be successful,” said Kevin Halle, director of admissions at Wayne State.

“We appreciate the great support we have received from President Rames, our academic leadership, and all faculty, staff and current students.”

* * *

Want to learn more?

Prospective students interested in any of the college’s new programs or any of the other 130-plus programs of study at Wayne State are encouraged to visit www.wsc.edu to learn more or apply and schedule a visit.

In other news

NORFOLK — Beginning Monday, April 6, the District 7 Probation Office will have a change. The office is open, however, minimal staff are in each building.

The City of Norfolk and contractor Penro Construction have decided to delay the start of construction on Braasch Avenue to mid-May. This delay will allow the suppliers and contractors additional time to stockpile construction materials during this time of reduced market capacity. It also wil…

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Saying they don’t know when they’ll be able to re-open many of their businesses with the coronavirus spreading, Walt Disney Co. officials announced they will start furloughing some workers in two weeks at its theme parks resorts in Florida and California.