Earning a bachelor's degree in Brainerd will now be more convenient.
The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth will offer an accelerated degree program through night classes at Central Lakes College beginning this fall. This program is different from the 2+2 program, which includes two years of community college courses followed by two full years of St. Scholastica classes. St. Scholastica and CLC have been partners in the 2+2 program for 15 years.
In the new program, students can complete a bachelor's degree on an accelerated basis.
Diane Dick, director of extended studies at St. Scholastica, said a student in the accelerated program can condense the last two years of work for the bachelor's degree into one year.
The accelerated program is more accommodating for adults who want to grow in their careers or want the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree. The courses will be 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Three majors will be offered -- management, computer information systems and organization development behavior. To be considered full-time, a student must take at least two courses over eight weeks and enroll up to six terms.
A person may receive the degree from scratch in three years by taking two classes in each of the six terms for one year, two classes in five terms -- with one term off -- for two years.
A St. Scholatica representative works with students, those who have associate of arts degree and those without, to schedule the required credits to complete a bachelor's degree.
"We try to think of every possible scenario to try to help the student earn the degree," Dick said.
The advantages of the program are students will not have to leave Brainerd, they can earn the degree in a shorter amount of time and St. Scholastica provides a laptop computer to every student.
"This absolutely is a benefit (to the community)," said Sally Ihne, president of CLC. "It is the way of the future and a way to get done faster."
"I'm in favor of it," said Doug Keran, CLC vice president of academic affairs. "We can better serve our community."
St. Scholastica has had this accelerated program in place for one year and has received great feedback, school officials said. Bob Ashenmacher, St. Scholastica director of college communications in Duluth, said he has found no drawbacks to the program.
Dick said she has found students to be energized with the enhanced courses. She said in the beginning she was concerned students would have difficulty keeping up, but she found her concerns unwarranted.
Brainerd is the first off-campus site to offer this program through St. Scholastica.
"We have an excellent standard with CLC," said Dick. "It (the program) seemed to be a natural fit."
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