[UTA Magazine]


Strength in numbers
Rise in graduate students fuels another enrollment increase

For the ninth consecutive semester, UTA enrollment is up, this time 6.3 percent over last year. The official headcount is 20,842, with the largest increase coming in new graduate students—a leap of 27.5 percent.

"The increase in new graduate students is a dramatic example of the overall trend we're experiencing," Graduate School Dean Philip Cohen said. "I'm especially delighted because UTA has a number of wonderful graduate programs at the master's and doctoral levels."

Led by a 27.5 percent increase in new graduate students, spring enrollment surged 6.3 percent to 20,842, the ninth straight semester of enrollment gains.

Rachel Artho Ickert is one of the new graduate students. A native of Dumas in the Texas Panhandle, Ickert finished her bachelor's degree at Texas Tech in December and immediately entered the UTA master's program in civil engineering.

She was drawn not only by the attractive employment opportunities in the Metroplex, but by the research being conducted by civil engineering associate professors Ernest Crosby, Anand Puppala and Max Spindler. They are studying storm water runoff for the Texas Department of Transportation; Ickert has joined their research team.

"I was always good at math, and my teachers and family members suggested that I should be an engineer," she said. "And I liked bridges, so I thought civil engineering might be for me. However, once I started studying civil engineering, I found out that I was more interested in water issues, like we're working with on this project."

Enrollment issues are of more immediate concern to Dr. Cohen, who cites a variety of reasons for the increasing number of students.

"One is certainly the creation of new graduate programs and online programs," he said. "We've also done a lot of work in recruiting. Our graduate faculty and advisers are very involved."

Recruiting efforts include visits to fairs at colleges and schools statewide. "Plus we've become much more proactive in reaching out to students who express an interest in graduate education at UTA," Dr. Cohen said.

In addition, the Graduate School has provided funds for fellowships. "We're trying to make the financial package we offer our best applicants as competitive as possible. We're also working hard to revamp every aspect of graduate study at UTA from admission to graduation, reforming policies and procedures so that they're more in line with what graduate schools throughout Texas and the rest of the country are doing. We want to make earning graduate degrees at UTA more faculty and student friendly."


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