By Mackenzie Farmer:
Since fall 2016, enrollment at Amarillo College has steadily increased. While you may be blaming the lack of parking on more students, higher enrollment is mostly due to an increase in dual credit students.
Jason Norman, co-director of dual credit, said that Amarillo Colleges partnership with area high schools has solidified over the past year.
“We have worked long and hard with area schools to enhance and expand our dual credit offerings,” said Norman. “We have expanded some content areas, such as Spanish dual credit, in schools that we did not have before.”
While the increase in students is mostly in dual credit classes, AC has had to make some accommodations on campus as well, specifically in one department. Frank Sobey, associate vice president of academic affairs, said they have had to add more sections of speech classes as well as hire two new faculty for this academic year.
“All students pursuing an associate’s degree will be required at some point to take speech,” said Sobey. “Any increase in student enrollment, therefore, will increase the need for more sections of one of our highest-enrolled core courses.”
Sobey also said that AC has also had to add sections and hire new faculty in other departments as well. English, humanities, and languages department; child development/early childhood and education department; and the business systems and emerging technology department, to name a few.
Bob Austin, vice president of enrollment management, said after a decrease in enrollment for a couple of years, it has only gone up 2.6 percent this year, which is manageable.
“We had seen declining enrollments for about four or five years, between 2010 and 2016,” said Austin. “In the fall of 2016, last year, enrollment was up and we have seen it trending up in the last few semesters.”