Wilmington University is the second-fastest-growing doctoral/research institution in the country, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The university was not compared to Delaware State University or the University of Delaware because those schools are classified as “very high research activity” institutions. The rankings are divided into three categories: very high research activity schools, high research activity schools, and doctoral/research schools.
Among the 90 doctoral/research institutions, Wilmington’s growth was second only to Benedictine University in suburban Chicago for the 10-year span of 2002-12.
The figures—which include all students, not just doctoral students—show that Wilmington enrollment jumped 90.7 percent, from 6,597 in 2002 to 12,581 in 2012.
During that same period, enrollment in the university’s three doctoral programs rose from 223 to 491. The university awards doctorates in education, business administration, and nursing practice.
Robert Rescigno, director of WilmU’s doctorate of business administration program, said the university’s attention to students, the rigor of its programs, and its value have drawn students to campus and online.
Many of Wilmington’s doctoral students are mid-career like Chris Spriggs, director of regulatory compliance at the Glen Mills Schools, a residential treatment center. Last month, Spriggs successfully defended his dissertation on how juvenile facility employees perceived the effectiveness of training. It has been touted on the website of the National Partnership for Juvenile Services, and the Journal of Juvenile Justice has asked him to submit it for publication.
Capt. Michael Rajchel, now Dr. Rajchel, wrote his dissertation while serving with the Air Force in Afghanistan and Baghdad. On Dec. 3, he became the first student in university history to defend his dissertation live from another country by Internet.