March 5, 2004
Graduate Certificate Helps Community Ed Programs Compete
A new graduate-level certificate for community education directors and after-school coordinators may make the difference on whether a popular program wins financial support. The competition for federal funds among after-school programs is fierce, according to Stanley Potts, past president and treasurer of the Wisconsin Community Education Association.
"Today, the programs with highly trained staff are likely to emerge as winners in the race for adequate funding," said Potts of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. "It hasn't helped that there is a shortage of formal learning opportunities for staff working in community education and after school programs."
To meet the need for training, Potts assisted the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in developing an online, graduate certificate in community education. The university developed this program in partnership with the National Community Education Association, the premier professional organization for community education staff. Students earn the graduate certificate by completing four, three-credit courses and one independent project.
"All course work is provided via the Internet and other distance-learning tools, making it accessible to students everywhere," said Dean Leon Zaborowski of the UW-RF Outreach and Graduate Studies Office. "The compressed course schedule is also a popular feature. Students take two courses each term, but only work on one course at a time. In addition, colleagues from around the country will follow the same schedule and complete the program together, usually within one year."
Tuition for the 15-credit program is half the cost of a master's degree and the online format means that students pay the tuition of a Wisconsin resident, which is often considerably less than comparable institutions around the country, said Zaborowski.
A new cohort of students will begin with the start of the introductory course on June 23. All participants need to apply and meet the minimum requirements for graduate study at UW-River Falls before registering for classes.Visit the Web site at http:/www.uwrf.edu/outreach or call the UW-RF Graduate Studies Office at 715/425-3256 or 800-228-5607 for more information.
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