Higher Education Soars Higher
Move over, UD and DSU. Delaware’s private colleges are sharpening their public profiles.
by Jim Waltzer
(page 4 of 5)
Baron says that DCAD grads are “exceedingly well-prepared” when they venture to the big cities. He cites those who go on to master’s degrees or simply take immediate jobs related to one of the six DCAD majors: animation, fine arts, graphic design, illustration, interior design and photography. Another 250 students take advantage of the school’s continuing education program, and interested high-schoolers (and younger) get a leg up with DCAD’s one-week pre-college art studio program.
Nationally accredited, DCAD has a small endowment that it bolsters with
annual fundraising appeals. It is trying to increase its enrollment and budget, and Baron sees additional majors in cartooning and ceramics in the future. “Curriculum is a living thing,” he says. As is art.
The Value of Service
Freshmen at Wesley, the oldest private college in Delaware, attend a lecture series that stresses, among other concepts, self-improvement and the value of volunteerism. The message is clear: Students should not live by books alone. “We want to be institutionally involved in students’ lives,” says president William Johnston.
If that sounds a touch Big Brotherish, be assured that Johnston is referring to student participation in community service programs on campus, what he calls “service learning” and a “holistic educational experience.” At Wesley, creating students who are outstanding citizens is a primary goal.
This perspective stems from the school’s covenant relationship with the United Methodist Church (theologian John Wesley was the movement’s founder), which emphasizes social responsibility and affords, says Johnston, a “philosophical-spiritual journey while at college.”
But the president is the first to point out that Wesley is about much more than introspection and good deeds. After all, the Wolverines’ football team went to the NCAA Division III semifinals in December, and 17 other men’s and women’s teams claim a substantial share of student bodies. In addition, intramural sports is big, and various clubs and organizations punctuate Wesley’s 50-acre Dover campus, which is graced with columned buildings and stately Victorians within shouting distance of the historic district. Established in 1873 as the prep school Wilmington Conference Academy, the school took the name Wesley in 1918, but didn’t offer bachelor’s degrees until six decades later.
About 1,600 students attend classes full time in Dover. A thousand of them live on-campus, in one of a half-dozen residence halls or the Honors House, which rewards high achievers. Wesley’s New Castle campus, geared toward working adults, serves another 400 students, and the school offers general education courses for military personnel at Dover Air Force Base.
The three largest majors at Wesley are business, education and nursing, which parallels the three master’s degree programs that have been in place since the 1990s. A number of Wesley students are first-generation college, and 22 percent are from minority groups. Annual tuition is under $19,000, while room and board combined ranges in the low five figures. A variety of financial aid packages help pay the freight.
Page 5: Higher Education Soars Higher, continues...