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La Sierra University Breaks Enrollment Record Again

La Sierra University had cause to celebrate during its first convocation of the new school year. The start of the 2011-2012 school year marked the second year in a row of record-breaking enrollment gains for the university, provost Steve Pawluk announced. According to statistics from the Office of Records, on the seventh day of classes when official tallies were taken, undergraduate enrollment stood at 1,897 students, up from 1,755 at the same time last year—an increase of 142 students or 8%. The university also set new record for overall enrollment with 2,199 students, an increase of 4.9% over last year’s high mark.

Particular areas of growth included the School of Business, which saw its enrollment increase from 399 students in 2010 to 405 students in 2011. The school is believed to be the largest business school in the North American Division (though not all schools have released their numbers). The College of Arts and Sciences also made gains, registering a total of 1,613 students, an increase of 117 students or 7.8% over 2010. Biology majors accounted for another portion of the university’s growth. Since 2006, the number of biology majors has trended upward except in 2009 when the number dipped from 191 to 186. This year the department saw its largest gain in six years as the number of biology majors increased from 218 in Fall 2010 to 257 this Fall.

A notable area of decline for the university was in total number of graduate students, which went down from 341 students, Fall 2010, to 302 students this Fall.

La Sierra’s continued growth has had a positive impact on the local economy. The school’s website reports:

The institution in 2010 funneled $49.5 million into the local economy through pay and benefits of $26 million. The institution employs 1,400 people annually including students and adjunct professors, and its ongoing land development project over the past 10 years cost $740 million resulting in 19,689 jobs. Land development in the Riverwalk Parkway area includes single-family homes, a retail plaza and hotel and a senior apartments complex. Additionally, during 2010-2011, the university purchased $3.1 million in goods and services from 150 local vendors and created 2,324 jobs through construction and renovation projects that totaled $84.3 million.

In addition to growing numerically and financially, La Sierra has expanded its course offerings as well. This year the university added a film minor, which will benefit from La Sierra’s proximity to Los Angeles, the epicenter of American film. According to a news release issued on the university’s website, the minor will include courses in theoretical and cultural analysis coupled with applied skills.

Applied courses in the minor degree include Creative Visual Design, Final Cut Pro Video, Screenwriting and Introduction to Acting. Cultural analysis courses include Hollywood & American History, Topics in Film, World Cinema-Asia and World Cinema-Europe. The latter courses provide introductions to national cinemas of the Pacific Rim countries and India, and of European nations. The Hollywood & American History class explores the political and cultural dimensions of the Hollywood institution from the late 19th century through the present day, according to an outline.

While there are no plans currently to expand the course to a film major, the university has not ruled it out.

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