Sam Houston State University The Woodlands Center is expanding its scope of programs and services to both students and area residents as enrollment numbers trend upward.

In its second full year of instruction since opening in August 2012, SHSU The Woodlands saw a nearly 12 percent increase in enrollment compared to the fall 2011 semester when the school held classes at Lone Star College-Montgomery.

The Woodlands campus offers 15 undergraduate programs, 15 graduate degrees and two doctoral programs with more on the way, said Janet Mullings, executive director of The Woodlands Center.

“SHSU is moving into health care and that is a new area of opportunity,” she said. “The College of Business has always been a large draw here and will continue to be. We will be offering a new degree in mass communication and public relations, as well as increasing our day course offerings.”

Mullings said the most popular classes at The Woodlands Center are evening classes. Many evening classes, she said, are at capacity and the staff is working to fill many daytime classes.

“We are also working to develop relationships with Lone Star students, so when they finish their sophomore year, it’s an easy transition to walk to our campus,” she said. “All of those things together add to the increased need for the programs here.”

In addition to increasing its program and class offerings, The Woodlands Center features an educational leadership and counseling program that is proving beneficial to both students and local residents. The program offers training for school counselors and licensing for professional counselors, marriage and family therapists.

The counseling program also offers free counseling to area residents at no charge.

“Our students are seeing the clients under the supervision of their professor, and they get individual supervision from our doctoral students,” said Judy Nelson, associate professor and clinic coordinator of community counseling.

Nelson said the program currently oversees about 120 sessions per month.

The educational leadership branch of the program includes a school principal preparation program, a superintendent certification program, masters degrees and a doctoral program in educational leadership.

“Because this is a such a dynamic market, with diversity and density in this area, [the educational leadership program] is a great draw,” said Stacey Edmonson, chairwoman of the educational leadership and counseling program.

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