UPDATE: Launch of Converse’s Degree Completion Program has been postponed. For more information, call 596-9746. Converse College is giving both men and women the chance to complete their bachelor’s degree in business administration through a new online degree program. The program targets adults who may have started a bachelor’s degree but went into the workplace and didn’t complete it. While men have been obtaining graduate degrees from Converse for years, this is the first undergraduate program open to men.
“Our state is trying to grow its economy, and we hear the need for employees with more education. We need more education if we’re going to be vibrant in the 21st century economy.”
The program starts this fall. Participants should have at least 48 transferable credits from an accredited college or university, and requires 120 credits to earn the degree. Cost is $400 per credit hour, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. The online courses are designed to be completed in 18 months in 10-week modules using a “cohort” model. In a cohort, a group of students will enter the program and progress through it at the same time. The design of the program allows for convenience and flexibility for students who might be juggling the demands of a full-time job and family, officials say.
“There is such a push to increase bachelor’s degree attainment in our city and region, and there’s a real interest on the part of the market to have a customized experience,” Converse College President Betsy Fleming said. “Our state is trying to grow its economy, and we hear the need for employees with more education. We need more education if we’re going to be vibrant in the 21st century economy.” The program promises support for adult learners and those who have never taken online courses before. There also will be round-the-clock technical support and optional online tutoring and advising.
“Online learning is very new to some of these students,” said David McCurry, director of distance learning at Converse. For students who need it, a course will be available to help them learn how to navigate an online course, participate in online discussions and post materials.
McCurry said the college’s business faculty have had a strong hand in designing the program. The curriculum emphasizes real-world case studies, and students will be able to bring their own workplace experiences to the virtual classroom.
The faculty at Converse hopes to partner with local businesses to tailor classes to the needs of local businesses.
“If the need is advanced accounting, we could work to put that together,” McCurry said.
“We left some room to specialize,” added Kimberly Newton-Burgess, director of post-traditional admission at Converse. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all.”
Applications are being taken now for the session to begin Aug. 25. A second session begins Feb. 3. Inquiries about the program have come from as far away as Texas and Maryland, Newton-Burgess said.
“This means we can open our doors much wider,” she said. “Six students have been accepted this week, and they are very excited.”
This article was written by Jenny Arnold of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal