by Bill Levy
Chances are that if you reside in Southwest Florida and are interested in a continuing education program, you will be able to find a fit for you. Both Florida Southwestern State College and Hodges University have inspiring offerings, though their structure is different.
Southwestern State College uses more of an online approach.
“We have most of our (continuing education classes) on-line,” said John Meyer, the Dean of the School of Business and Technology. “If you put everyone in a class, it is difficult to find out what their skill set is. You then would have to break them down into groups. Having classes online allows people to go at their own pace as well as study something that interests them.”
Meyer gave the example of someone taking online course to further his/her skills in Excel.
The teachers however are very accommodating to the students.
“The (teacher/student) relationship is very professional,” said Adrian Kerr, the Director of Corporate Training. “The instructors are available for personal meetings. They are required to respond to a student question within 24 hours of receiving the communication.”
The cost is $100 to enroll in a class at FSW and each participant receives a certificate of completion at the conclusion.
Hodges University focuses on more onsite interaction, according to Barbara Hawkes, the Director of Community Outreach/Director of Frances Pew Hayes Center Fort Lifelong Learning.
She said the classes are a combination of lectures and field trips.
“We have had classes in photography, arts, creative writing, American literature, politics and other topics,” she said. “We are all over the place. If there seems to be desire, we will look into it.”
She said the instructors may be from the University or from the community. The social aspect is something that appeals to the students according to Hawkes. “It gives people the chance to meet others,” she said. “That is something they enjoy and look forward to.”
Many of their classes are held at the Naples campus, where the fee is generally $25. She did say though that they have some agreements with other satellite locations around the area where there is no cost. Various classes have recently been on field trips to Arthrex, Algenol and WGCU. Their sessions run in the winter, summer and fall.“This is a way to give back to the community,” Hawkes said. “That is something we are really committed to.”