“Our enrollment growth is making us burst at the seams,” says Chris Rivera, the new WSU-Davis director said late last week, just prior to the onslaught of students.
He is no stranger to WSU Davis or to the campus environment, even as more new programs are starting on the Layton campus. A new bachelor’s degree in the electronics engineering program and masters of taxation are joining a variety of other offerings at the campus.
“We believe we will have the largest class out here at the Davis campus ever,” Rivera said.
Outgoing director Bruce Davis, who continues as assistant provost and in other duties, said FTE student equivalent numbers reached about 3,250 last year.
But with the continued economic downturn, ongoing population growth, and ever more academic offerings, enrollment is expected to be even greater this year.
Translated into credit hours, students are taking 20,000 of them, just at Weber Davis, this year.
“We have a big partnership with Davis County businesses and the community, as well as with our legislators and other government officials,” Rivera said.
The electronics engineering program received a green light from state officials earlier this year, a degree the “whole Davis County community really pushed to get out here,” he said.
Previously there was a partnership with Utah State University to provide the program, locally, but they pulled out for budgetary reasons. “There was still a need,” which WSU will now fill, Rivera said.
An open house was held to spotlight that program, recently, drawing a “large number of potential students and some employers,” he said.
The employers “basically said they are looking for engineers, as many as we can produce. We probably have jobs” for them, Rivera said of comments at the open house. It’s believed the program will more than fill up thanks to the large number of businesses in the area, including startup in construction of the 600-acre research/business park in northeast Layton, only a few miles from the campus.
Masters of taxation graduates are anticipated to find jobs in major firms that deal in corporate taxes, Rivera said.
“The accounting department is the home of the masters in taxation program,” Davis said. It will join a masters in professional accountancy program offered at Weber Davis for the past few years, Davis said.
Those offerings, along with the masters of business administration offered at the Davis campus, “gives students a choice. With the masters in taxation, there are a lot of employment opportunities,” Davis said.
While the taxation program has been in demand, nothing has been dropped to accommodate it in terms of space, Davis said. In fact, two conference rooms have been converted to classrooms for this fall term.
Hopes are still high from many quarters that approval may be granted next winter for construction of the long-awaited second campus building. It would serve not only academic functions, but also as a sort of student union, among other things.
Funding shortfalls have stifled that hope of the last few years over the past several legislative sessions.
For more information, visit www.weber.edu/wsudavis/.