ASU public service college sees double-digit student growth
The College of Public Service and Community Solutions welcomes more than 800 new students as the fall 2015 semester begins.
The new group of students reflects the distinction the college has earned for educating the highest percentage of first-generation college students, minorities and veterans. When combined with new graduate students, the school boasts its highest number of students ever at more than 5,900, a 12 percent increase from last year.
Freshman Chase Perren is from North Carolina and is majoring in tourism development and management with an emphasis in sustainable tourism. She chose the ASU School of Community Resources and Development because it’s “number one in this major.”
“On the East Coast, sustainability isn’t completely grasped just yet,” Perren said. “And I knew if I moved out here I would have more opportunities for my career.”
Gan Hao Tian is also majoring in tourism development and management. He is one of eight international students in the freshmen class. Overall, international students represent just over 4 percent of students in the college.
“Firstly, I hate the cold weather, so ASU is the best choice for me,” Hao said. “Secondly, my teacher in China told me the tourism management major at ASU is very good.”
The reputation of the college’s schools attracted many out-of-state students as well. Ernesto Hernandez is a freshman from Los Angeles who is majoring in public service and public policy in the School of Public Affairs.
“I chose public affairs because I want to be a public servant to the community,” Hernandez said. “I like finding a solution to problems and just helping people.”
Like Hernandez, Los Angeles native Caitlyn Lemle wants to make a difference in her community. The freshman is majoring in criminology and criminal justice.
“I want to prevent violence anyway I can, whether it’s in law enforcement or another profession in the criminal justice field,” Lemle said.
Lemle and Hernandez reflect a growing trend of out-of-state students attending ASU. Almost 40 percent of students in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions are from outside Arizona.
Ashley Walter of Chandler and Michelle Silverio of Laveen are majoring in social work. In-state students make up the majority of the students in the college at 55 percent.
“I chose social work because I really like kids so I want to help them to be in better situations if they are not being treated well,” Walter said.
The School of Social Work plays a vital role in the state’s child welfare system. Besides helping train needed case managers for the Department of Child Safety, the schools’ research targets solutions to help the state prevent and better deal with a growing number of abused and neglected kids ending up in foster care.
“I chose ASU downtown for social work because of the programs that they have for this,” Silverio said. “And I heard about the ProMod program, and I really wanted to do that.”
ProMod stands for Project-Based Modular Learning, which engages students in interdisciplinary learning projects with real-world applications. It’s the first year the university will offer these kinds of lower-division classes as part of a five-year grant. The college’s ProMod course is limited to students enrolled in social work or public service and public policy degrees. Students will focus on improving the college recruitment and retention of former foster kids.
The College of Public Service and Community Solutions continues to be one of the university’s most diverse colleges. Based on preliminary numbers for fall 2015, the college has the largest percentage of Hispanic students at ASU at 37 percent and the one of the highest percentage of minority students at 45 percent.
The college has a tradition of serving a large number of veterans. The latest count shows three freshmen and 41 new transfer students are active members of the military. Overall, 430 or 7 percent of students are either active-duty military and or veterans based on preliminary fall numbers.
Many active-duty members and veterans are online students. The college offers an online undergraduate degree in criminology and several online graduate degrees, including: criminal justice; public safety leadership and administration; emergency management and homeland security; sustainable tourism and social work. The college also offers an undergraduate degree in community advocacy and social policy both online and in-person.