Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Get back into the college swing


New buildings, parking, classes await record number of freshman at area's largest campuses

By Denise Smith Amos
Enquirer staff writer

study
Chemical Engineering mayor Val Lindsey, right, works on some class work in one on the study rooms in the Tangeman University Student Center on the University of Cincinnati Campus in Clifton.
(Ernest Coleman/The Enquirer)

Buck up. It's time to buckle down at Cincinnati's colleges.

Beginning this week, more than 81,000 students will be moving into dorms, picking up college textbooks and finding their ways to classes on some of the area's largest campuses.

Several schools, including Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University and College of Mount St. Joseph, are reporting record freshmen enrollments. Most schools show high enrollments despite recent tuition increases.

For college students, the major challenge is getting back into the mental swing of school.

"When you get back to school, you'll have to get used to studying all the time. Even on Saturday mornings, you have to get used to plugging in your brain," said Kiki Roberts, a third-year chemical engineering student from Toledo who attends the University of Cincinnati.

"Just realize it's never going to end," added Steph Gehlenborg, a White Oaks engineering student.

Her advice to students: Find people to study with or form study groups.

"Let's face it: Graduation is a group effort," she says.

Several schools, including the University of Cincinnati and Thomas More College, said they're expanding places for group study this year.

Mostly, students will need hard-hats and revised campus maps, because many schools are undergoing construction or renovation projects to reshape their student areas.

"Construction is a mess, as always," said Julie Osterhout, 24, of Finneytown, who attends UC.

"Learn multiple ways to class. Learn which buildings connect," adds Gehlenborg.

Among the largest of the construction ventures is UC's massive Main Street, which is designed to transform the former commuter college into a 24-hour campus where students can work and live.

The newly expanded and renovated Tangeman University Center opened in May and was joined by a just finished Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center. There is also a new baseball stadium and large chunks of campus still crowded with construction equipment.

Other colleges also report expansions of their facilities and academics as school starts.

Thomas More College starts Aug. 25 for about 800 full-time students.

What's new: New bachelor's degree in political science. Men's and women's cross-country running adds to its athletics. Faculty put syllabuses on a Web site. The library added new classrooms, services and an elevator for students with disabilities, more small-group study space and a teachers' resource room.

Miami University opens Aug. 24 for about 16,300 students.

What's new: More and expanded food selections including low-carb, vegetarian, vegan and other special diets. Its first parking garage under construction will open in 2005 and an ice arena will open in 2006. There's a new engineering major. Incoming students plan their dorm rooms online, getting measurements for windows, closets and layout with the move of a mouse. WiFi wireless services will stretch throughout the campus this year.

The University of Cincinnati starts Sept. 22 for about 34,000 students.

What's new: Its Main Street project continues, with a new university center, student life building and other amenities opening recently. The temporary buildings, which students called tents, are almost gone. Construction through the center of campus, on Varsity Village and other buildings continues.

Xavier University starts Aug. 25 for about 6,600 students.

What's new: Record freshman class of 886. Basketball coach Sean Miller, Xavier's former assistant coach, replaces Thad Matta, who went to Ohio State. The Patriot Club is a new nonpartisan student group promoting student voter registration and participation in the political/electoral process. Cathy McDaniels Wilson, a psychology professor, will oversee the Dialogue Zone and Healing through History programs at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center downtown.

Northern Kentucky University starts Aug. 23 for about 14,500 students.

What's new: Parking garage will triple parking spaces to 680 this fall. More "smart" classrooms feature high-speed Internet access, digital cameras and other technology. A "digital classroom" opens in spring, a domed room like a planetarium, but with Imax-like projections on walls and ceiling. The draining and remaking of "Lake Inferior" in center campus begins.

College of Mount St. Joseph starts Aug. 23 for about 2,200 students.

What's new: Sports complex opens Sept. 4 for football, soccer, and track and field. New majors include criminology/sociology and dual majors involving aging services. A new master's in nursing program starts.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Sept. 7. Most students enroll in winter. About 7,500 students are expected this year.

What's new: In late fall the Advanced Technology and Learning Center opens for classes, including the information technology division and the Midwest Culinary Institute. The institute will sport a 200-seat culinary demonstration theater, and there are plans for a restaurant and a bakery staffed by culinary arts students. The college adds student life areas, including an expanded bookstore, study areas and lounges, a cyber cafe, and racquetball and aerobics facilities, and a 200-seat auditorium.

E-mail damos@enquirer.com



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