Graduate school enrollment increases at ECSU

Kesha Williams
August 31, 2011

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Elizabeth City State University's graduate student enrollment has increased from 65 students in the fall of 2010 to 98 students in the fall 2011. That's progress Dr. Paula Viltz, director of Graduate Education, is proud of.

Viltz says the increase is attributed to an aggressive recruitment in local and surrounding county schools. The increase also reflects the number of qualified, undergraduate, ECSU students who are also entering the university's graduate programs.

"We hired a recruiter who works with our community liaison to form graduate student cohorts in the public schools. These graduate students are area teachers who aspire to become school administrators," Viltz said.

Thanks to a $3 million award from the U.S. Department of Education which provides scholarships for up to 50 graduate students in biology and mathematics, additional students have enrolled in graduate programs at ECSU. Another U.S. Department of Education federal grant provides scholarships for more than 30, area educational leaders to enroll in our Master of School Administration degree program. Students are taking full advantage of the financial incentives offered at ECSU to retool, develop work ready skills, create new knowledge through scholastic research and attain advanced degrees.

Guided by the Graduate Education Strategic Plan (2010-2014), Viltz is advancing toward the goal of increasing student enrollment and expanding degree programs. With strong support from the university's administration, Viltz is implementing the Graduate Education Strategic Plan in tandem with the university's overall strategic plan. Eventually, she hopes the university can offer an entire graduate degree programs online.

Viltz says it's an exciting time for ECSU as they broaden the base and move the university toward the future where more degree programs will be offered. The graduate degree programs now include 4 graduate degree programs with five additional concentrations. Currently, the university offers masters degrees in Biology, Mathematics, Education School Administration, and Elementary Education. Those degrees were selected based on a growing demand for graduate professionals.

"We are working hard to develop a graduate student culture on a predominately undergraduate campus. The Graduate Student Council, newly formed, has taken the lead in this effort, serving as a voice for our graduate student population.  This is important as we strive to establish quality, student centered programs and services," Viltz said.

As we look to the future, the Masters in Public Administration Degree program, which currently awaits approval from the UNC Board of Governors is expected to be launched in Fall 2012.  This program and other new and relevant programs will ensure a continued increase.