Connecting the campus to the community
Dec. 19, 2016
What is MSU Billings Extended Campus?
Extended Campus, Continuing Education, Extended Studies, Lifelong Learning – the names vary from campus to campus but all of these entities share something in common: delivering programs that serve learners who cannot (or chose not) to attend traditional university degree programs. The reasons for this may vary – they are working and their schedule does not jive with the times courses are offered, they don’t want to commit to the time and expense of a full degree program, they have a degree but just need additional education or training in a specific topic, or they just want learning opportunities for their children. Regardless of the reason, the traditional, daytime, semester-based approach is not for them.
Enter a strange outreach unit that specializes in developing needed programs delivered for these audiences – working professionals, career changers, those looking for enrichment programs, those looking for program for their children – but lives within the university walls.
Because the needs of these audiences vary greatly, the programs offered to serve them also vary a great deal. At MSU Billings we offer programs and courses in five main categories: Certificate Programs, Community Programs, Continuing Education for Educators, Professional Development, and Youth Programs.
Certificate programs contain a series of courses designed to provide more depth than one course but not as much as a full degree program. Extended Campus offers both credit and non-credit certificate programs in nonprofit administration, craft brewing, teaching creative writing and new manager training, to name a few. Some of the programs require previous course work to be admitted while others are open to all interested parties.
Community programs, as you might expect, are non-credit offerings that tend to focus on enrichment or learning a skill related to a hobby. Examples of classes in this category include a series of classes on craft beers, wilderness first aid and special events, such as Girls-n-Science.
Continuing education for educators is pretty self-explanatory. Educators are required to keep learning during their careers and some need courses that award credit to move up on pay scales. All courses are reviewed by the college of education or other appropriate college before being approved for credit.
Professional development offerings are typically shorter term education and training that helps individuals enhance their knowledge and skills related to their job. This might include training on writing grants or learning of updates for the next tax season.
Youth programs take the form of camps during summer and winter breaks. All camps are academic in nature and promote learning in a fun and active environment. In the future we hope to offer some after school programs as well.
So, while it is not easy to sum up what Extended Campus is in a single sentence, our goal, through our programs, is our tag line – “connecting the campus to the community.”