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Chesapeake College greets largest fall class in history

Posted on Saturday, September 01, 2007


Students take a break between classes the first day of the Fall 2007 semester. The renovation of the Talbot Science Building, left background, will include a much-needed additional science lab when it reopens in Spring 2008. (Photo by Marcie Molloy) 

WYE MILLS – Classes were full of students, and students were full of enthusiasm Monday as Chesapeake College officials welcomed the college´s largest fall semester class ever.

"I sense a lot of excitement from the incoming students today," said Chesapeake College Student Government Association President Heather Sterling. "The students at Saturday´s New Student Orientation asked the best questions that I´ve ever heard from new students. I´ve talked to some really nervous students today, but I´d say they were nervous in a good way. They´re trying to be conscientious and get off to a good start."

Bethlehem resident Lauren Boyles is one of the 779 new students in Chesapeake´s fall class, which included 2,591 students as of noon Monday.

"It was a surprise to me to see so many people in my biology class this morning. It was definitely full," said Boyles. "This is a real change for me. I went to Chesapeake Christian School and there were only 10 people in my graduating class!"

Ridgely resident Abigail Shaffer – who is taking classes four days a week, working two days each week, and hoping to pursue her love of theater in her "spare time" – said she felt like the school year was "off to a good start."

"I´m juggling a lot, but I think I´ll manage," said Shaffer, adding, "I already have my first assignment."

Chesapeake 2,591 students represent a 1 percent increase in headcount, while the 748 Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) as of noon Monday is a 2 percent increase over last fall´s record enrollment. (Each 30 credit hours account for one FTE, which is the basis for Chesapeake´s state funding.)

Dr. Richard Midcap, Chesapeake´s vice president for student success and enrollment services, said the college´s biggest challenge this summer has been finding sufficient space for all the students interested in taking day classes.

"Most of our remaining seats for the most popular courses are at night, although we´ve been able to schedule some late-arriving students desiring day schedules," said Midcap, who expects final fall enrollment to exceed 2,600. "We´ll continue to see students coming in this week and we´ll do everything possible to put together schedules that work for their specific situations."

Chesapeake students saw first-hand one of the college´s strategies for dealing with future enrollment growth – the nearly complete renovation of the Talbot Science Building. When the building reopens for the Spring 2008 semester, the new design will include a much-needed additional science lab.

"I am excited about the prospect of reopening the science building for the spring semester," said Dr. Willie Woods, the college´s dean for liberal arts and sciences. "Not only will it give us a state-of-the-art science facility, it will increase our capability to offer science labs needed by our students for both transfer preparation and career options requiring a science foundation."

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