July 16, 2008

Degree Completion for Adults Now Within Reach

By Rachael Van Horn, The Woodward News, Okla.

Jul. 16--A new program that allows adults whose college years were interrupted by life changes to enroll and complete their degrees is being offered by Northwestern Oklahoma State University and seven other accredited Oklahoma schools.

It is a program that closes the loop for working adults who have, perhaps missed opportunities for better career opportunities simply because of the lack of a degree, according to Northwestern State University of Oklahoma officials.

"I think it is a wonderful opportunity for working adults to ease back into school," said Dr. Deana Fisher, Dean of Northwestern Oklahoma State University's Woodward Campus. "It is a program geared to help the working adult into college life and we are proud that the Woodward Campus is able to offer the classes to qualified working adults who wish to use the avenue to obtain their education goals."

The program known as Reach Higher is an abbreviated degree program, that, through the combination of at least 72 hours of former college work and a carefully designed curriculum, can help an adult complete a degree within two years, according to Northwestern Oklahoma University Reach Higher Program Advisor, Dr. Kathy Harris.

Harris works at NWOSU's Enid location and will serve adult students who enroll in the program, she said.

But through consortium agreements with all eight universities, a student can decide to enroll online through the university they choose to work through.

According to the Reach Higher Website, other universities that are participating include Cameron University, East Central University, Langston University, Northeastern State University, Rogers State University, Southwestern State University and University of Central Oklahoma.

Harris said an adult qualifies for the program by being over the age of 21, having at least 72 hours of former college work, which includes all general education requirements and at least a two point GPA.

"And, of course, they need to be interested in completing their degree," Harris said.

The program begins with a foundation course, Harris said. The foundation Course is a course that helps the advisors guide adults and teach them to negotiate the technology that will be used as they work to complete their degrees, she said.

In this course, students will meet in person at times, Harris said.

"This is a good time for some face time with students since this course is designed to not be totally on line," she said. "The last class of the program, we also have some face time."

Harris said the last class is called the Capstone" class whereby students develop a portfolio which contains cover letters, resume and a presentation of what they have learned.

"It is a wonderful chance to have a program for the adult who has so many balls in the air," Harris said. "And I get them in their first and last class and that is a joy."

For more information about the Reach Higher Oklahoma Degree Completion program look on the web at www.ReachHigherOklahoma.org.


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