Higher Education Soars Higher
Move over, UD and DSU. Delaware’s private colleges are sharpening their public profiles.
by Jim Waltzer Published March 16, 2010 at 08:35 AM
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Growing Programs, Growing Up
When curriculum planners developed a bachelor’s degree concentration in computer forensics and installed it in 2007, they were not sleuthing for a new TV series or dressing up the course catalog. The Goldey-Beacom playbook calls for speed, timeliness—and results.
“Small schools can turn on a dime,” says vice president Gary Wirt. “We stay responsive to what students and employers need. You don’t want to train kids and send them out the door if the jobs aren’t there.”
Training entails more than academics. The school has built an enviable job placement record by emphasizing perspective as well as skills. “Our focus is on students not just looking for jobs, but developing an entrepreneurial mindset to compete in the new economy,” says career services specialist Rebecca Leyson.
The school’s origins were rooted in the old economy. Educator Harry Goldey founded Wilmington Commercial College in 1886. His ambitious instructor, William Beacom, opened competing Wilmington Business School nearby at the turn of the century. The schools’ names and locations changed more than once through the next few decades, but there was room at the table for students from both. Typewriters clacked, Dictaphones clicked and life was recorded in shorthand. Secretaries—male as well as female—and bookkeepers emerged to join corporate America. Goldey and Beacom colleges merged in 1951. They based operations at Beacom’s building at 10th and Jefferson streets in downtown Wilmington. In 1974, following a protracted period of inner-city strife and declining enrollment, the school moved to its current campus in Pike Creek Valley.
Goldey-Beacom’s 24 acres on Limestone Road include four garden apartment-style residence halls that house some 300 of the school’s 1,600-plus students. Tennis courts, athletic fields and, in the deceptively commodious Joseph West Jones Center, a sleek modern gymnasium, all host the Lightning’s NCAA Division II action. The campus has gone wireless. It features a sophisticated computer lab and networked classrooms.
Two-thirds of Goldey-Beacom’s students are from Delaware, and more than half are undergraduates. The school draws mainly from within a 30-mile radius, yet it recruits well beyond the vicinity. Fifteen percent of those living in the dorms are international students, some faculty come from overseas, and President Mohammad Ilyas is from Pakistan. “Business is global,” says Wirt. Students profit from the school’s international flavor, he says, adding, “We’re still viewed as business-only, but we’re not.”
Indeed, last year the school added economics, health care management, and sports management to its roster of bachelor of science degree programs in accounting, business, computer sciences and other disciplines. Goldey-Beacom has offered bachelor’s degrees since 1978. A new bachelor of arts program in psychology will launch in the fall. Master’s programs in management, taxation and finance have joined the master’s of business administration program that began in 1992.
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