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To every college there is a season

CSU is known for its colleges of business, engineering and agricultural sciences, to name a few, but what did the campus look like 20 years ago?

With the help of campus officials, the Collegian analyzed university records from 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012 to chart the fluctuations in each college’s student population over two decades.


College of Liberal Arts

In the last 20 years, the College of Liberal Arts has consistently made up close to 20 percent of CSU’s student population. And it’s done so by continuously adding enrollment opportunities.

During that time period, the college has added the ethnic studies and women’s and gender studies departments, as well as a major in international studies, according to College of Liberal Arts dean Ann Gill. The college has also developed language programs in Chinese and Arabic.

The communications studies department has grown the fastest, enrolling 423 more students than it did 20 years ago — a 66 percent increase, Gill said.  Other departments grew as well: sociology grew by 64 percent, economics grew by 68 percent and theatre grew by 54 percent.”

Warner College of Natural Resources

The Warner College of Natural Resources greatest increase in population began in 2007. Currently, there are 1,358 students in the college, which comprises 6.1 percent of the total student population.

The college experienced a lull from 1997 to 2007, with only 971 students enrolled in the college in 1997. At that time, they made up only 4.7 percent of the total population.

“This is an era of growth, with this freshman class being the largest ever,” said Peter Newman, associate professor for the Warner College of Natural Resources.

College of Business


Between 1992 and 2002, the College of Business has had enrollment increase from 825 to 2,031 students.

Today, the College of Business has 2,154 students and comprises a total of 9.6 percent of the total student body at CSU.

College of Engineering

In 2006, the College of Engineering noticed that the number of women enrolling in the college was decreasing alarmingly. Former Dean Sandra Woods started looking at ways to change this, ultimately finding that the college was retaining women already enrolled in their programs, but not attracting additional female applicants.

Kathleen Baumgardner, a director of the Office of Strategic Communications for the College of Engineering, said the department began interviewing students about why they chose CSU’s engineering department.

“We found that women had much different stories than the men in our department,” she said. “So we added opportunities that connected with the women’s stories.”

The new opportunities included rewriting their department’s website, expanding the role of student ambassadors and adding on new recruitment events to draw in more students.

According to Baumgardner, the enrollment of women into their undergraduate program has increased by 97 percent from 2007 to 2012. Their efforts to attract women students were so successful that the college was awarded the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN) Initiative Award this last summer in Columbus, Ohio.

College of Agricultural Sciences

The College of Agricultural Sciences has, on average, made up 6 percent of the total undergraduate population at CSU. The college doesn’t want this number to decrease.

“The need for Agricultural Sciences is urgent in our world today,” said Coleman Cornelius, director of communications for the College of Agricultural Sciences. “There are tremendous food needs globally that agricultural sciences students are challenged to fulfill.”

The need for educated agricultural sciences students is apparent in the program’s total enrollment numbers, which has grown by 46 percent in the last 20 years –– a reflection of what is happening in the “big wide world,” Cornelius said.


Overall, Intra-University numbers have decreased from 1992 to 2012, although there was a noticeable increase from 1997 to 2002. According to Mary Ontiveros, vice president for Diversity, one reason for the increase can be attributed to harder admission standards for other majors.

At one point, the art department increased their admission standards, making it the hardest major to qualify for at the time. Many students were put into the Intra-University category until they could successfully complete enough admission requirements to be admitted into the department.

However, other colleges have been offering new enrollment options within their departments. For example, the College of Business introduced a new minor that allowed students the chance to get an education in business without having to fully commit to the department’s major admission standards.

College of Applied Human Sciences

From 2002 to 2007, the College of Applied Human Sciences experienced an increase of almost 1,000 students, growing from 3,129, to 4,076.

“Nationally, I feel that one of the biggest impacts was obesity rates,” said Dale DeVoe, associate dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences, explaining the increase.

DeVoe said research shows a correlation between the amount of students majoring in areas of health science and the rising rate of obesity.

“There have been a lot of studies done in the public sector about health and obesity, so I think it is natural to see an increase in health areas,” DeVoe said.

Currently, the college has leveled off with 3,928 students enrolled, down slightly from 2007 numbers.

DeVoe attributes this leveling to a decrease in construction management majors due to raised accreditation standard and an increase in people participating in major programs like health and exercise science.

College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

The population in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has fluctuated in the past 20 years. The college had 686 students in 1997, which decreased in 2002 to 525 students and increased in 2012 to 655 students.

The changes are mostly credited to a reclassification of students interested in veterinary and medical school.

“The downside to claiming that you want to be a pre-vet is that you get into some very hard classes. Many students would gravitate out of pre vet and into other colleges,” said Dr. Kenneth Blehm, Associate Dean of the college.

From 1997 to 2002, the amount of students interested in being pre vet or pre med inflated the college’s enrollment numbers, leading the college to reclassify students interested in veterinary medicine as undeclared. This consequently lowered the enrollment rate of the college.

According to Blehm, the college grew in size again in 2004, after the creation of the biomedical science major that brought the college size up to 664 in 2007. As of now, the college has maintained similar rates with current enrollment at 655 students.

College of Natural Sciences

In the past 20 years, the College of Natural Sciences has gone from 2,371 students in 1992, to 3,540 students in 2012.

“This decade there has been an enormous increase of students in biological sciences,” said Dr. Simon Tavener, the college’s associate dean for academics.

Tavener said that because of an increase in technology and an aging national population, interest in the healthcare field has gone up considerably.

“If you look at the demographics of the U.S.’s aging population, there are a lot of jobs to be made in the health industry,” Tavener said.

He added that other majors in the college are cyclical in growth, fluctuating according to the economic climate.

“Biology and psychology have grown … computer science has gone up and down,” Tavener said.

In the face of a harsh economy, computer science enrollment went down between 2002 and 2007, which deflated the College of Natural Science’s overall numbers.


Collegian Writer Sean Meeds, ASCSU Senate Beat Reporter Skyler Leonard and City Beat Reporter Amanda Zetah can be reached at

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