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3.4.2 - Continuing Education PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 31 August 2009 13:06

3.4.2     Continuing Education

Continuing Education

The institution's continuing education, outreach, and service programs are consistent with the institution's mission.

Responsible Unit: Division of Academic Affairs

Compliance Judgment



The mission statement of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T ) includes a commitment to effective public service through interdisciplinary partnerships among university academic departments and schools and the community, service learning experiences for students, and a commitment to "transmit new knowledge to a community that seeks to improve the quality of life for all in the 21st century." [1]

The mission of the Office of Continuing Studies and Professional Development (OCSPD) at A&T is to extend the resources of the university to the community in accessible formats, and to assist in making the university a recognized expert resource for high tech, cutting edge information, professional development, and training. In collaboration with the academic departments, schools and colleges of the university, OCSPD offers certificate programs, courses (non-credit and contract credit), workshops, seminars and conferences for the community at large.

Programming sponsored by the OCSPD includes partnerships among OCSPD, academic departments of the university and business and industry or professional associations [2]. OCSPD also offers courses, workshops, seminars, and special programs which are not associated with partnership agreements, in conjunction with academic departments [3].

OCSPD staff serve on planning committees and coordinate registrations, financial and contractual processes for conferences and special programs sponsored by university schools and colleges [4].

The overall goals for the Office of Continuing Studies and Professional Development are:

Goal I:       Expand Programming to Business, Industry and the Community at  Large

Through Increased Collaboration with Academic Departments.

Goal II:      Expand Programming to Business, Industry and the Community at Large

Through Increased Partnerships with Business, Professional Organizations and Other Outside Agencies.

Goal III:  Expand Programming to Business, Industry and the Community at Large

Through Expansion of Office of Continuing Studies Revenue

The goals of the university include:  To enhance and diversify the University's resource base

through effective fundraising, entrepreneurial initiatives, enhanced facilities, and sponsored research programs.

OCSPD Assessment Procedures: The strategies that OCSPD uses to develop and expand programming are:

A.     Develop and maintain working relationships with academic departments to develop non-credit and contract credit programming (courses, workshops, seminars, conferences) for the community.

B.     Develop and maintain working relationships with business, industry and professional associations to ascertain training needs and develop programming (in conjunction with academic departments) to meet those needs.

C.     Increase programming enrollment through enhanced marketing procedures.

D.     Pursue grant funding.

The Office of Continuing Studies collaborated with the Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences, and the Schools of Technology, Education, Nursing, and Agriculture, representing 12 academic departments, to offer courses for review and preparation toward professional certification in engineering (Fundamentals of Engineering {FE} and Professional Engineering {PE} certification), in technology (safety at heights and quality processes professional certifications), in nursing (RN First Assistant), and for training in business communications, Spanish for supervisors and public servants, and toward health care technician certification.

OCSPD assists the academic units with conference and special program planning and coordinates on-line and on-site registration, hotel contracts, and on-campus facilities reservations and services for the conferences and special programs.

The yearly enrollment in OCSPD programming has increased from 891 in 2003/2004 to 1534 for 2008/2009.

OCSPD uses end of course internal assessment instruments, developed by the instructor and/or the office. Instructor assessment of student work includes quizzes, class work, assignments, and attendance. National standards require 75% class attendance for CEU. Work is also assessed by results of certification or licensure examinations, annual alumni surveys by e-mail and mail, individual student reporting, examination and certification results published by professional organizations.

Evaluation instruments rate the quality of the program activities in terms of student expectations and needs, relation to work situations, and instructor effectiveness.  Student end of course surveys are distributed by a staff member on the last day of each class/workshop/program. Students complete the form in class and return to the staff member. Evaluations are used to improve program content and teaching.

Because of the high quality and extensive experience of the instructors, student evaluations have been uniformly high.

The best measure of program performance is enrollment, retention (students returning for additional classes), and "word-of-mouth" advertising by students.  Those programs which continue to run are the most successful.

Cooperative Extension: As a land-grant university, North Carolina A&T has an inherent responsibility to conduct basic and applied research for the public interest, and to disseminate scientific and practical knowledge through Cooperative Extension and other outreach and engagement programs.  The Cooperative Extension Program provides research-based information and educational programs to communities, families and individuals in North Carolina. Based within the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (SAES), the Cooperative Extension Program plays a vital role in helping both SAES and the university to fulfill their broad commitment towards learning, discovery and engagement within the university, community, state and nation.

Current Cooperative Extension programs and outreach efforts focus on three strategic priorities: improving the state's economic impact; promoting a safe and healthy environment; and improving the quality of life for the state's citizens. As the outreach and engagement arm of the university, the Cooperative Extension Program is distinct in that it operates both campus and county-based faculty and staff.

Specialists located on the campus design educational programs, provide technical assistance, and train field faculty and others to deliver educational programs. They also assist small and part-time farmers in evaluating innovative farm-based income opportunities and non-traditional enterprises. In addition, risk management, direct marketing, small farm equipment, farm safety and farm business management are other areas of focus.

Examples of current programming include:

Youth Development

Children's Environmental Health

Children's Environmental Health

The 4-H Public Housing Mini-Society Project

Small Scale Agriculture

Alternative Enterprises

  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • The Dark Side of the Sun

Environmental Intervention Program

  • Farm Management (for successful direct marketing)
  • Farm Safety and Energy Conservation Program
  • Farmers Adopting Computer Training (FACT) Project
  • Small Sale Production of Horticulture, Flowers and Fruit
  • Successful Small Farming - Direct Marketing
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Youth Gardening: Down-to-Earth & Garden Mosaics

Leadership and Community Economic Development

  • Community Voices: Leadership Development for Community Decision-Making

If Not You Who?.. Taking A Stand To Help Young People In YOUR Community - The Asset Building : A Community Approach Curriculum

  • Share Yourself Community Volunteer Mentor Program

Family and Consumer Sciences

  • NCSaves (family financial planning)
  • North Carolina All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety Awareness Program
  • Parenting Matters
  • Project Eat Right-Add to Life (PEARL)
  • SENSI (programming for limited resource families)
  • Water: Assessing The Everyday Risks - Just use Good Sense!

See [5] for examples of The Cooperative Extension Program that represent its commitment to providing a learning environment which helps people put knowledge to work.

Service learning programs [6] are consistent with the mission of the university and engage students and faculty in the community. Service learning is a major national movement at every educational level, and is now a particularly powerful force in NC A&T undergraduate education that also contributes positively to its outreach and engagement efforts. Connecting academic study with community service through structured reflection is widely recognized as contributing to learning that is deeper, long-lasting, and more portable to new situations and circumstances.

It engages students and faculty in solving problems within their schools and communities, such as academic studies or other types of intentional learning activities.

Existing Programs (Students):

  • Civic and Service Education Program (C.A.S.E.) is a component of the University Studies curriculum that seeks to prepare students to be diverse, globally-engaged citizens by promoting learning through active participation. All students are required to complete 50 hours of service/experiential learning.
  • The Honors Program faculties require freshmen to complete community service each semester. Students raise funds to purchase books and read stories for students at local elementary schools.
  • The Division of Student Affairs facilitates the partnership of student organizations with community nonprofit organizations, special programs and organizations for community service. The program is open to the public and is geared to the education of youth about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision.
  • The Council of Presidents requires student organizations to participate in community service projects throughout the community. Each organization is required to perform 10 hours of service per semester. Currently, there are 126 recognized organizations.
  • The Entrepreneurship Certificate Program places juniors and seniors in local businesses for cooperative education experiences or summer internships.

The greatest strength of the University's present service learning program is that it is required for all students. This means that each freshman cohort will produce 1800 x 50 hrs = 90,000 service learning hours per graduating class that can be devoted to worthy projects in the Piedmont Region, and beyond. The only limit to the impact of student service learning is the imagination of the faculty and students involved in the projects.

Existing Programs (Faculty):

  • The University's Nursing Program provides annual health fairs at the local malls, which include screenings for high-risk behavior and chronic diseases.
  • The Construction Management and Occupational Safety faculty and Health Department HUD project collaborates to offer training for local housing authority residents related to ownership counseling and preparation. Over 274 residents have participated in the program.
  • The Youth Entrepreneurship Development Program promotes entrepreneurship to youth living in low income households in Wilmington, North Carolina and surrounding areas. Faculty offer workshops related to converting a career idea into a business idea, researching an idea, analyzing the competition, and learning how to finance the idea.
  • The International Trade Center faculty serve the public's needs especially that of small-scale farmers and small business owners in facilitating economic development through marketing of higher value added products and services locally/regionally and nationally/internationally.

Partnership Programs with K-12 Schools

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) offers programs, initiatives, and activities designed to improve public education. The School of Education leads campus efforts in training pre-service and in-service teachers, counselors, school executives, school social workers, and other school personnel to work in the public schools, thereby improving public education. Partnerships are formed with Local Education Agencies (LEAs), Community Colleges, and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to improve the quality and quantity of teachers. Additionally, funded initiatives are aimed at producing more teachers in high need content areas as well as geographic diversity. NC A&T is poised to continue to be a leader in improving public education by doing its part in the seamless education continuum.

NC A&T School of Education currently offers several programs, initiatives, and activities that are key in improving public education, including but not limited to: the Cumulative Effect Program, the 2+2 Program, the Master of Art in Teaching, National Board Seminars, Rural Teaching Fellows, and Professional Development Schools (PDS). Though these programs focus on different components of public education, all support in-service school personnel and/or increase the number of highly qualified school personnel.

The Cumulative Effect Program, a partnership with Guilford County Schools and UNC Greensboro, provides content mentoring and pedagogical and professional skill development for high school mathematics teachers. The 2+2 Program allows for the seamless transfer of community college students into teacher education programs offered by NC A&T. The Master's of Art in Teaching Program (MAT) and  the National Board Seminars enable candidates to get advanced education and certification. The Rural Teaching Fellows is grant funded and aims to increase the number of teaching professionals in rural areas. Professional Development Schools is a mutually beneficial partnership between the University's Teacher Education Program and the public schools for professional development of pre-service and in-service school personnel.

In an effort to work in collaboration with K-12 schools, A&T uses all of its resources to assist and partner with local and statewide schools and community colleges. The School of Education and the university use a number of methods [7] to assist public schools in solving problems of educating hard-to learn or advanced learners.

A&T has developed a partnership with nearby Dudley High School so that high-achieving students can spend their last year taking classes at A&T and graduate with a year of college credit. As well, A&T has a separate program with Dudley High School called the A&T Middle College where at-risk young men spend their entire high school career on A&T's campus. These smaller classes and in some cases one-on-one mentoring, assure that students who were at risk of dropping out can now complete high school.

Supporting Documents


Undergraduate Bulletin, Mission Statement, 2006-2008


Programs Sponsored by OCSPD


OCSPD, Academic Department Sponsored Courses, Seminars, Programs


OCSPD, Conferences


Cooperative Extension, Programs


Service Learning Programs, Examples


Partnership Programs, K-12 Schools

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Last Updated ( Monday, 15 February 2010 09:06 )

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