July 28, 2008

Brown Mackie College Enters Tulsa Market

By Heather Caliendo

A new college will enter the Tulsa market this fall.

Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp. will open Brown Mackie College - Tulsa at the Exchange Center complex, 4608 S. Garnett. It will be Education Management's first school in Oklahoma.

Brown Mackie College has 19 campuses in nine states. The Tulsa campus, accredited to award bachelor's and associate degrees and diplomas, represents the Brown Mackie system's second expansion this month.

The private, for-profit institution offers training in business, legal, health sciences, information technology and creative fields.

About 26,600 square feet will be dedicated to classrooms, computer labs, a library and office space. The school will occupy three floors of the Exchange Center complex.

Denise Choquette, campus president, said the college chose the spot because of the ability to grow and expand.

"We're excited to be here and everyone from our team is from the Tulsa area," she said.

"We've worked really hard to introduce this national company to Tulsa and bring a lot to the community."

Initially the Tulsa branch will offer diploma programs in accounting, business, criminal justice, medical assistant and paralegal assistant.

Choquette said Brown Mackie College offers a flexible academic program. The school is designed for all programs to offer one course per month. She said the format allows students to fulfill family and work obligations while they're in school.

"The advantages may be that the working parent, who has been out of school for some time and is apprehensive to go to a school, can now take one course at a time," she said. "The one course, one subject matter doesn't have conflicting instruction and provides a lot more management for the working parent."

While the college sets schedules appealing to nontraditional students, Choquette said other Brown Mackie colleges have had an increase in students straight from high school. She said more students are having to pay their way through school and are finding this format a way to work while pursuing a degree.

The process to open Brown Mackie - Tulsa began one and one-half years ago. Choquette said a market study looked at population and employment demands in several communities. Tulsa was chosen for its real estate options and employment opportunities.

"Part of the study was that 'yes we do have colleges here' but we don't have enough students going through programs that meet the actual demands of the jobs out there," she said. "That was one of the key deciding factors."

Choquette said the programs are set up to prepare students to go directly into the work force regardless of degree level.

Classes will start Oct. 6, with enrollment beginning immediately. The school is recruiting professors, so Choquette doesn't have an estimate of the student-teacher ratio yet.

Education Management schools have more than 97,000 students enrolled; 9,000 of them are in Brown Mackie schools. For the fiscal third quarter ended March 31, Education Management profits rose 75.9 percent to $31 million, drawn from a 25.8-percent rise in revenue to $461.2 million.

"There is a need in the market and we are getting a lot of positive feedback from companies," she said.

Originally published by Heather Caliendo.

(c) 2008 Journal Record - Oklahoma City. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.