WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston State College is pleased to announce that it will offer a Business Evening Cohort program, a curriculum designed to help the working professional earn a college degree in their free time.
The program will begin in August 2011, with graduation in May 2013, will provide a rigorous, accelerated program which will end with the earning of an Associate of Science degree in Business in less than two years. Course work will be done on campus and online, with participants attending classes one night per week. They will finish the course with 62 credit hours completed.
"The participants will have the opportunity to meet other adults who share career interests, to develop their business leadership skills and prepare for possible advancement with their current job," said Wanda Meyer, WSC Vice President for Instruction. "The degree they earn will transfer to all other colleges in the state of North Dakota."
She added that the reason the college has added this program to its offerings is that there is a philosophy in higher education that has found that students tend to complete a program if the coursework is offered to them in a small, compacted timeline.
"It is perceived as more doable for people, as opposed to a longer time and extended periods," Meyer said. "By taking the courses in smaller blocks of time, you feel like you have accomplished something, you've completed a long-term goal."
Courses for the program have been chosen with this model in mind, Meyer said.
"One that's a little more work has been combined with one or two that may require a little less work. Also, we've combined courses that have are from different categories - one that may be more discussion with an algebra class. We're trying to mix it up a bit so they're not doing the same thing with every class they're taking at a time, and that will make it seem more doable for them."
Classes will run for about a year and a half, meeting through the summer months as well as the regular school year. "We'll go right through the summer so they don't lose the momentum they've picked up during the school year," Meyer explained. "They may take an English Composition I class, have a short break, and then go into English Composition II, and they won't be forgetting what they learned previously."
There is also the belief that since the students will begin and end the program together, they will form more of a comrade than if they took a class here and there when they have time.
"They will be with the same group of students through the entire program," Meyer said. "They will boost each other up, keep each other motivated and be there for moral support. People who have gone through this type of program will say they have developed lifelong friends."
Participants will take two or three courses at a time, with the first eight weeks having two courses. Then they will go to three classes, taking six to eight credit hours at a time. According to Meyer there is some flexibility in the courses the program will offer, but it is pretty much preset.
She encourages anyone who wants to earn an associate's degree yet cannot quit their job to look into the program. She added that any company would benefit from sending employees through this program.
"Say you have an oil company," Meyer said. "That company, like every business, needs someone who can perform basic business functions that take place, including marketing, human resource skills, payroll, etc. To be at a level of professionalism and be where they are at, they will need to have management skills. This program will provide that training, helping the employee develop skills to help the company be better and more efficient."
She said that the program is very doable for someone who has to work around a fulltime job and/or a family.
"For each period, one class will be face to face in the classroom, and the other one or two will be taken online," she said. "The online classes can be done anytime of the day - during coffee breaks at work, during lunch break, after the kids are in bed, etc."
For more information on the Business Cohort Program, contact Leah Hess, enrollment coordinator at 774-4220, or Serena Christianson at 774-4526, or go to the website, www.willistonstate.edu.