Harcum College has seen record enrollment this semester, with a number of changes planned both to accommodate current students and for future increased enrollment.
Enrollment has increased about 73 percent from 870 students in 2008 to 1,506 students this spring. And with Harcum’s centennial approaching in 2015, President Jon Jay DeTemple is hoping for an enrollment of that same number.
Edith Harcum, the college’s founder, originally saw the school as a way to prepare women to have a career, said DeTemple. Now, as a two-year independent college for both men and women after becoming coeducational in 2003, Harcum is a little different than it used to be—but its mission to prepare students for finding work upon graduation remains the same.
“With our programs, we have a rule,” DeTemple told Bryn Mawr-Gladwyne Patch. “We don’t have a program that doesn’t lead to a meaningful job.”
The biggest program at the school has been nursing, with both day and evening programs, DeTemple said. Their dental and vet tech programs are also popular, he said.
“One of our problems has been, we’ve grown so rapidly we’re kind of running out of space here on our little block,” DeTemple said.
But they are working on “growing” without building new buildings. For example, Harcum’s nursing program is run out of a former school building at Our Mother of Good Counsel, where Harcum has a long-term lease.
They’re also working on overhauls of the library—a $1.2 million project—and the dental facility, which was just renovated with new cabinetry and a new floor. Harcum also has a third project for a special lab for the vet tech program, which has been using the standard science lab.
Of the projects, the library is the biggest. Most of the campus’s large buildings were built in the 1960s and are now in need of some improvements.
“We’ve been very fortunate to get a number of grants to update technology, with smart classrooms,” DeTemple said. “And the library is very old. We joke, 'Don’t look down, don’t look up,' because the carpet’s bad and the ceiling’s bad. We started some pieces of it with money that we have for some infrastructure-type things. But we’re moving along pretty well and hope to get it all done.”