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Week of December 13, 2010

WCC to extend pilot program offering evening classes on U-M campus

Washtenaw Community College plans to extend a successful fall pilot program into the winter semester by continuing to offer evening classes on the U-M Ann Arbor campus.

The WCC pilot program will offer 12 classes for the semester that runs Jan. 10 through May 2, up from the nine it offered in the fall semester, says Janet Hawkins, WCC associate director of public affairs.

“We enrolled a lot of new students in those classes,” Hawkins says. “They really liked the location and that it was closer to where they lived.”

WCC is leasing classroom space in Ann Arbor as part of its efforts to offer classes closer to where its students live and ease crowding on its main campus in Superior Township, where enrollment has grown by nearly 10 percent a year for the past three years. The community college also offers classes in Dexter, Brighton and Hartland.

“While this is still a pilot program, the arrangement worked well in the fall,” says Frances Mueller, project manager for U-M’s Space Utilization Initiative. “Allowing WCC to use U-M classrooms when they are not in use fits well with our efforts to more efficiently use campus facilities and serve the public.”

In addition, Mueller says, the program is benefitting U-M employees, a number of whom enrolled in the classes.

“It’s great to be able to take the class I needed just a short walk from where I work instead of driving to the WCC campus,” says Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesman in the Public Affairs office who is taking Introduction to Statistics two nights a week.

Fitzgerald says he would certainly consider taking another class through WCC because of the convenience.

WCC will use four classrooms in Mason Hall and a computer classroom in Angell Hall four evenings each week.

Ninety-two students enrolled in four fall classes. WCC expects as many as 150 students to enroll in its winter courses at U-M.

“What’s important to us is being able to offer courses closer to where people live,” Hawkins says.

The two schools plan to re-evaluate the program again in the spring to determine whether a longer-term arrangement should be considered.



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