Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whitworth to open site downtown this fall

Business degree, general education courses to be offered in Spokane's University District


Photo courtesy of the Journal of Business
In response to growing demand from its students and from the surrounding community, Whitworth University plans to start offering courses this fall in the University District, located just east of downtown Spokane.

The new site will be located on the second floor of the Sirti Building, at 665 N. Riverpoint. The University District includes Sirti, which is a state economic-development-related agency, as well as Gonzaga University, branch campuses of Washington State University and Eastern Washington University, and the district offices of Community Colleges of Spokane.

"Whitworth has a longstanding relationship with the downtown business community, and we are thrilled to expand our services to the Spokane region by offering evening classes for adults who live or work downtown," says Cheryl Vawter, Whitworth's director of administrative services for graduate and continuing studies.

Whitworth will begin by offering a bachelor's degree in organizational management, as well as general education courses that can be applied to the organization management degree or other degrees offered at Whitworth's campus in north Spokane.

The courses will be structured in the university's accelerated format, which is geared toward non-traditional students who want to attend classes at night. In the accelerated format, students take one class during each six-week term, and meet one night each week plus two full Saturdays during the term, or two nights a week with no Saturday sessions. Although Whitworth will initially offer one general education course and one organizational management course during each session, the university has tentative plans to begin offering a third course per session, depending on demand.

Whitworth assigns students in the organizational management program into cohorts, which are groups of up to 20 students who take all of the courses required for their major together. Whitworth designs the program this way to foster a strong sense of community and to increase collaborative learning among the students; professors are also able to get to know the students better throughout their time in the program.

"Offering courses in the University District will give working adults access to our student-centered, high-quality academic programs closer to their homes or workplaces," says Terry Ratcliff, Whitworth's dean of continuing studies. "Students can expect the same high-quality instruction and student support whether they attend courses on campus or downtown."

Whitworth's downtown office will provide all of the services that students would receive on campus. Prospective and current students will be able to meet with their advisors, complete their admissions and financial aid applications, and register for classes, among other services. As with other courses Whitworth offers in its evening accelerated format, the cost of books is included in tuition, and students will receive all of the books required for each course on the first day of class.

After Whitworth researches market data to determine which programs would serve the community best, the university is planning to offer other degree programs downtown.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Cheryl Vawter, director, administrative services and graduate and continuing studies, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4518 or cvawter@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.