Mar 222004
 
Authors: Christiana Nelson

Amid ongoing fiscal difficulties, CSU officials have decided to

close the Continuing Education Center effective June 30.

“The reason we’re planning to close the center is because

revenue has decreased and student enrollment has decreased,” said

Academic Vice President/Provost Peter Nicholls. “We have to find a

way to operate profitably.”

The Continuing Education Center’s focus, on community outreach

by offering professional development certificates and noncredit

courses, will be discontinued.

The decision to close the center follows a university

investigation into the profitability of the technology, personal

enrichment and professional development noncredit courses offered

at the Continuing Education Center located at 2925 S. College

Ave.

Nicholls said the cost of maintaining the campus outreach

program has increased due to heightened competition for business

and consequent decreased revenues.

“It seems to us that our services are competing with community

colleges, recreational districts and other area providers,”

Nicholls said.

Dallas Everhart, interim director of Continuing Education, said

that during financial difficulties it is “a priority for the

university to stay closely aligned to its mission,” citing online

courses and credit courses as Continuing Education’s main

concerns.

CSU has three Continuing Education Centers. While the South

College Avenue center will close, the two other locations in Denver

and on campus in Spruce Hall will remain open.

The South College Avenue location differs from the other two

locations with its concentration on providing noncredit courses for

community members looking to expand their knowledge base and

professional skills.

The center provides a community focus that Bev Capps, program

director of noncredit programs, believes will be desired in the

future.

“The main thing we will lose is access to the community; as an

outreach that is one of CSU’s missions and we are one way to reach

the community,” Capps said.

Still, Everhart believes opportunities for community relations

will continue despite the closure.

“We can still look forward to the opportunity to build

relationships with community members through credit courses and

campus evening courses,” Everhart said.

Yet, as a student at the Continuing Education Center, Lee

Varra-Nelson, a supply chain project manager for Hewlett Packard,

believes night classes will not be able to replace the center.

“I think that what makes the center very unique and very

valuable to students like me is its focus on nontraditional

students,” she said.

Varra-Nelson is taking 11 classes this semester to finish her

advanced project management certificate prior to the center’s

closure.

“The needs of students that use the center are a lot different

than those at the university because most of us work eight to 10

hours a day, and work has to come first. A lot of the time our

companies are paying our tuition and on top of that we have our

home lives,” she said. “The center helps citizens to connect to the

CSU campus differently than just going to football games and

basketball games does.”

Similarly, Sara Hoffman believes the university will lack a

community connection following the closure.

Hoffman has been a business-writing instructor at the Continuing

Education Center for about five years and said that while she

understands the university’s need to eliminate programs, she

enjoyed the community diversity in her classes.

“You get all kinds of people in there: (Hewlett-Packard)

executives, people who are changing their career directions and for

a while the Thompson Valley School District in Loveland would send

their custodial staff to become certified,” Hoffman said. “The

variety of people you would get from the community just brought

such a different presence to the classroom.”

Despite some disapproval from community members, Nicholls said

he hopes citizens will find the services offered through the

Continuing Education Center in other community resources or CSU

programming.

“Closing down something like this impacts a lot of people,”

Nicholls said. “It is not something that was done without a lot of

thought and careful consideration.”

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