Brennae Spence, Guest Writer~
Lynchburg College’s St. Lucia campus is currently in the process of enlisting students solely for online courses due to the struggle of recruiting new students.
Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs Sally Selden stated, “Right now we only have one residential program there, and it’s a blend of some online classes and some face-to-face.”
Selden also confirmed that online courses can be advantageous during times of poor enrollment. “We’re struggling to get the numbers up and so the advantage is if it’s online, then even if we don’t have a full class of students from St. Lucia we can supplement it with other students.”
This facility started with three programs altogether, at the baccalaureate and master’s level, and the intention was for these courses to be taught primarily face-to-face.
The campus is planning on having two face-to-face classes for the March and August terms, according to Jenevie Bailey, director of the St. Lucia campus. “Aside from that, all the others are online,” she stated.
Ideally, classes on the St. Lucia campus would have 20 students with a minimum of 15, if necessary. However, Selden stated “we will run as small as ten.”
As a result of reduced recruitment, two new programs are in the process of being developed, though they will both be strictly online and at the graduate level, according to Selden.
Even though it has officially been an off-site campus for only four years, enrollment has steadily dropped. When courses began in 2014, enrollment was at 27 students and was estimated to reach 40 students by 2015. Currently, there are only 10 students enrolled on this campus.
Recruitment plays the largest role in the decision of online versus face-to-face classes for this campus. Selden stated, “We have just had a hard time recruiting down there to recruit enough students to fill new cohorts.”