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When classes begin Tuesday, all full-time faculty members at Niagara University will be carrying laptop computers, University President Rev. Paul L. Golden said Thursday at Niagara's eighth annual media luncheon.

Father Golden said the university gave laptops to the 120 full-time instructors and deans. By the end of the fall semester, all of them will be required to complete 48 hours of training in several standard software applications, including word processing, business, and desktop publishing programs.

Although official enrollment figures will not be known until Oct. 1, Father Golden said Niagara expects to welcome about 560 freshmen, with a total enrollment of slightly less than 3,000 for 1998-99. Last year's total was a record 3,079. The figures include part-time and graduate students.

"The huge first-year class we had last year (708 students) squeezed us for space, especially in our residence halls, so we lowered our enrollment goals," Father Golden said.

The size of the incoming class is still above Niagara's average of 525 for the past six years.

Father Golden said the mean high school academic average for Niagara's incoming freshmen was 87 percent, and the average score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test was 1,040 out of a possible 1,600.

The university's Institute of Travel, Hotel, and Restaurant Administration marks its 30th anniversary this year with a new director, Carl D. Riegel, who arrived at Niagara late last month.

Riegel headed a similar program at Washington State University for the past nine years.

He said he plans to explore new curriculum choices, including courses in senior citizen living services. Riegel also said he hopes to raise awareness of the Niagara program to a national level.

Also on the academic front, Father Golden announced that the bachelor's degree nursing program has been reaccredited for the maximum eight-year period by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

The same group has granted initial accreditation of the new master's degree program with a family nurse practitioner track.

In a regularly scheduled inspection visit, the state Education Department has ruled both programs comply with state regulations, Father Golden said.

He also announced the Ontario Ministry of Education has renewed Niagara's approval to offer education courses on Canadian soil for two more years.

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