Continuing Education

A rea universities are catering to the needs of the working adult student. Schools have become truly customer-service oriented and offer flexible schedules and business-focused courses for time-crunched professionals. Adult students are commonplace on university campuses and are successfully juggling their jobs, families, and school in an effort to better their careers. The “no time” excuse can’t be used anymore.

hat’s because the nature of business has changed, says Jasper Arnold, Ph.D, Director of the EMB A program at the University of Texas at Dallas. Professionals at all levels should be aware that their previous career triumphs do not ensure a successful future. The only way to remain one step ahead in business is to stay one step ahead in education, he says. “E-commerce, e-business, globalization, rapidly changing technology, and competition are new factors that mean employees who want to get ahead need to re-educate themselves.”

Fortunately, seeking advanced education opportunities is easier than ever for working adults. This wasn’t always the case. Just 10 years ago, adult professionals considering going back to school made major sacrifices to achieve their goals. Colleges and universities offered only a handful of night courses, forcing students to give up evening family time to attend class after work. The only alternative was for students to take a break in their careers to become full-time students during the day.

Area universities are now catering to the needs of the working adult student. Schools have become truly customer-service oriented and offer flexible schedules and business-focused courses for time-crunched professionals. Adult students are commonplace on university campuses and are successfully juggling their jobs, families, and school in an effort to better their careers. The “no time” excuse can’t be used anymore.

Maintaining a full-time job and class schedule is made easy with so many options. Late evening, weekend, early bird, and lunch hour classes are offered at most every major university. Online courses are gaining in popularity, allowing students to complete advanced degrees from home. Some schools offer MBA programs in a 12-month curriculum. A regular college course can be completed during an intensive three-week period, and a degree can be earned by attending weekend courses. Employers have become just as flexible with scheduling and are working with employees so they can return to school. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement, raises, and promotions upon completion of a course or degree.

“Employers Lire happy to work with employees who are trying to better themselves and their careers,” says Dana Dunn. Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. “With the work force becoming so competitive, an increased knowledge base among employees is essential for a business to succeed.”

While universities have made scheduling easier for working adults returning to school, the courses haven’t necessarily become easier. Linda Frink, Director of the Baylor EMBA program at Dallas, knows first-hand the intense concentration and sacrifices needed to succeed in an advanced education program. A graduate of the Baylor EMBA program herself, she cites superior time-management skills and family support as two prerequisites for adult professionals considering returning to school.

Attending class is only a portion of the time consumption. Studying and class preparation require the most attention. Baylor’s EMBA students are asked to dedicate at least 15 hours a week to class preparation. Combine this with taking the kids to soccer practice twice a week and preparing for a major presentation at work, and the reason for needing excellent organizational and time-management skills becomes clear. Before making the decision to return to school consider the following suggestions provided by leaders at major area universities:

■ Commutes. If the daily drive is too far to make it to class on time each day, look for universities that offer weekend courses and programs, or choose a school with several branches and attend the one nearest yo

■ Computer skills. Many programs-particularly MBA programs-require students to provide their own laptop computers for interactive classroom use. Preparing impressive papers and presentations requires above-average computer skills.

■ Excellent communication skills. To succeed, the great ideas in your head must be relayed to the class. Many advanced degree programs require multiple classroom presentations to graduate. Make sure you are confident in your public speaking skills before you enroll.

■ Advanced preparation. Because homework and class preparation is so intensive, take computer or speed-reading courses to update your skills and to ensure you keep up with the required work.

■ A network of support. Professional students with families need the support of their spouses to succeed. Extra time will be drastically cut. More than likely, someone else will take over the bulk of household chores. Working students also need the support of employers and co-workers. Intensive intersessions or weekend courses that include Fridays require students to be out of the office and to depend on others to oversee their duties.

Even though most working adult students who go back to school will spend at least a full year earning an advanced degree, the results are worth it. Many MBA programs include opportunity for foreign travel as part of the curriculum. Small class sizes among peers with similar goals and careers allow for great networking opportunities and an enhanced learning environment. Mary Thibodeaux. Ph.D.. Director of the College of Business Graduate Degree Program at the University of North Texas, says today’s work force needs managers who can transcend narrow functional boundaries and fill a variety of jobs in any organization. An advanced degree can give students a foundation for their lifetime career-not just their next job.

“An advanced education is going to become more and more valuable as we go further into the 2000s,” says Sally Luoma, Director of Continuing Studies and Informal Courses for Adults at SMU. “In this new century, employers need people who are good communicators who can create, process, and relay good ideas. Employers know they will be best served by people who can understand and use all of the information they receive in this world of information overload.”

Baylor University Executive MBA

Program – 972-458-2327

The Dallas-based EMBA program is designed to meet the needs of professionals pursuing an advanced degree while maintaining full-time career responsibilities. Classes are held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays on alternating weekends at The Cooper Aerobics Center. Features of the 21-month program include two international trips to enhance a Global Strategic Management Course, small class sizes, an in-residence component, and participation in a wellness program.

Southern Methodist University

Continuing Studies:

Informai Courses for Adults


Informal Courses for Adults are offered to anyone 18 and older who simply wants the opportunity to leam something new. More than 250 affordable, non-credit courses are offered at various SMU campus locations at convenient hours. Popular courses include Re-Careering: A Search for Meaning, Money, Creativity, and Control; and Communicate Your Ideas to the Business World.

Master of Liberal Arts and Evening

Bachelor’s Degrees


at SMU include e-commerce, MCSE, Oracle, C/C++, Cisco, Windows 2000, MCSD, UNIX, Java, and Novell.

The University of North Texas


The University of North Texas offers one of the largest selection of academic programs in the metroplex: 93 bachelor’s, 125 master’s and 48 doctoral degree programs.

For the convenience of students, programs and courses are offered daytime, evenings, weekends, on the Internet, at various metroplex locations and at the new UNT System Center at Dallas located on South Hampton Rd., three blocks south of 1-20.

UNT graduate programs popular with working professionals include accounting, business computer information systems, computer science, educational administration, environmental science, information science, library science, psychology and public administration.

The University of Texas at Arlington

To accommodate the needs of working adults, UTA offers classes from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at its Arlington campus as well as at its new UTA/Fort Worth Riverbend campus in Fort Worth and at the Universities Center in downtown Dallas. Convenient intersessions-three week semesters offered between the fall and spring semesters and spring and summer sessions-allow working students to complete three hours of course work for career advancement

Distance Education


UTA’s award-winning Center for Distance Education offers courses via the Internet, videotape, and on cable television, including those leading to its MBA degree. UTA is also part of the new University of Texas UT Telecampus.

Division of Continuing Education


A program that offers thousands of courses during the day. evenings, and on weekends in the areas of professional development, computer training, career exploration, and languages. The program also customizes and teaches the course in the workplace for company-wide education opportunities.

College of Business Administration


The College of Business Administration offers a flexible MBA program that allows students the opportunity to complete their degrees by taking classes on Saturday only. evenings only, or a combination of both.

University of Texas at Dallas


Through a variety of graduate level programs designed to accommodate adult professional students’ heavy travel needs and work schedules, the UTD approach to executive education builds on structured workplace projects application and analysis in field settings, as well as group projects which link the workplace with the classroom. Classes for several programs meet on campus in a weekend format; others offer distance learning options. An emphasis is placed on company project work in conjunction with classroom work. UTD’s executive education programs include Project Management; Executive Master of Business Administration; the international management Global Leadership MA/MBA; Organization Development and Change Management, and Medical Management.


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