When asked what defines College of the Canyons’ Community Education Department, Dean Diane Stewart mentioned flexibility, the flexibility that allows residents to find the educational opportunities to fit their interests, schedules and personal or professional needs. Because, college isn’t always about earning credit for a degree. Sometimes it’s a way to never stop learning, even long after one has left their school days behind.
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Community Education is dedicated to providing a range of classes and experiences for anyone who wants to enrich their career or simply wants to learn something new.
It is similar to other programs offered by community college across the state, and because it is a not-for-credit program, it is independent of state approval and funding. This allows the local Community Education advisory committee to create programs unique to the Santa Clarita Valley and that address specific needs.
COC Community Education was founded more than 30 years ago. In that time, they have grown to offer a number of online classes, test and certification preparation and arts and entertainment excursions.
Build your resume
For those already in the workforce, going back to school often isn’t feasible.
“If you’re employed and you want to hone your computer skills, you really don’t want to take a credit course,” Stewart said.
Community Education offers a number of short-term classes that focus on specific skills, such as Microsoft Excel, business writing, accounting and growing a small business.
They also offer test prep for the GED, SAT, GRE and others.
Depending on the class, they are offered either at one of the COC campuses, or online.
Learn a skill at your own convenience
A large selection of online classes teach personal and practical skills, such as foreign language and personal finance.
They often run for only six weeks and are not tied to the regular semester schedule.
Classes are usually $99 per student and all are instructor-facilitated and include quizzes, hands-on assignments, discussion areas and supplementary links.
“You can do it at your own pace online,” Stewart said.
Stewart said that Community Education’s goal is not to compete with other programs, like Seasons with the city Parks, Recreation and Community Services Division. Instead, they try to find unmet needs and are always looking for instructors with new ideas.
“There isn’t one template for how we do this,” Stewart said. “It allows us to find a need and put a package together and do the marketing.”
Those interested in teaching a class, can find the course proposal form on the website.
For a full listing of the classes already offered, click here.
Experience new sights and sounds
Sometimes education isn’t found in a classroom setting at all. There are plenty of museums and art experiences available across Los Angeles County.
Community Education contracts with Good Times Travel to offer group trips to places like the Huntington Library, Disney Concert Hall and California Science Center.
Stewart said that the response to these kinds of trips has been very positive and that they often have repeat customers.
“Some people don’t need to go back to college, but they want to go to museums,” she said.
Good Times Travel also organizes multi-day tours across America, to places like Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.
For more information about cost and dates for these excursions, click here.
Not just for adults
Though most of the courses offered through Community Education are geared toward post-college adults, they also hold a Summer Institute for junior high and high school students, to help them explore different career paths.
The instructors with the Institute of Reading Development offer classes on campus for students ages 4 through adult to help build lifelong reading skills.
It’s all part of reaching out to a wide demographic in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“We’re very flexible in assessing what might be of interest to our community…” Stewart said, “and (we) work at providing those opportunities.”
For more information about the College of the Canyons Community Education Department, click here or call 661-362-3300.
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Source: Santa Clarita News