To help illustrate the reason for growth taking place at Angelo State University, one can look to the world of software, literally.
To get an understanding of the increasing interest in the San Angelo campus of Howard College, consider "hardware," or capital improvements.
In the case of both schools, exciting developments are under way to better accommodate students with a wide variety of needs.
‘Games’ of Angelo State
Though it’s been around for only a short time, the game development curriculum in ASU’s computer science program has already earned a reputation as being one of the country’s elite. The Princeton Review in 2010 named ASU as one of the "Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs” in the U.S.
“We made the list even though we had only begun the CS program in game development two years earlier,” says Dr. Tim Roden, program director and professor of computer science.“So it was a significant accomplishment.”
To supplement their computer science degree, students can earn a certificate in game development by completing the four-course sequence that includes one designed for hand-held devices. The program also features the Entertainment Computer Lab that promotes education and research into design and development of computer games.
As a result, ASU's game development program is a popular choice for incoming students. Nearly 40 percent of the computer science majors from fall 2011 indicated the "games" program as either a primary or important reason why they chose the major.
Roden, who has been on the ASU faculty since 2001, has outlined a proposal and hopes to partner with university administrators to further enhance his program's curriculum in computer game design and digital arts.
Howard College at San Angelo has hit a wall, so to speak.
“We’ve run out of space at our West Texas Training Center and our St. John’s campus,” says LeAnne Byrd, the school's provost. “We just maxed out.”
To help remedy the space limitations for a school with an enrollment that has increased some 300 percent since 1999, a master plan has been developed for the addition of two new buildings totaling about 42,000 square feet. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2012, with completion expected in time for the spring 2014 semester.
One of the buildings will house classrooms as well as offices for instructors, and the other will be a student services cente, which includes space for the library and testing. Howard College has experienced tremendous growth. Enrollment increased from 838 students in 1999 to 3,257 who had enrolled from the 2011-12 school year.
"There is a need in this area for a community college," Byrd says. "We work very closely with companies here to get our students ready to enter the workforce."
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