Ashford's Accelerated Programs offer Convenience

Convenience is the top reason that more than 100 students have enrolled in Ashford University’s accelerated academic programs in the past year.

“The program at Ashford has met all my expectations,” said Sharon Benson, who lives in Camanche, Iowa and works at Lyondell Chemical in Clinton as a training coordinator. “Because so many of us also work fulltime and have families, yet still want to learn and further our degrees, the assignments are set up in such a way to ensure learning and growth take place, yet allow for maximum time balance.” Benson has been enrolled in AU’s accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management (BAOM) program since January and has taken six classes. “Because I work and go to school full time, the convenience of location is important to me,” she said. “I did not want to spend additional time driving out of the area.”

When asked why he chose Ashford to further his education, Jessup Schroeder, also a student in the BAOM program, said it was the “convenience of classes while working fulltime and the classes are geared toward the adult learner. Also, I live in Clinton so it was nice to have a college so close to home.” Schroeder, who is employed by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, has taken nine accelerated classes at the University since he started last year. “I think it is as great opportunity for working professionals who never completed their degrees to obtain an education. The convenience of class schedules also makes it easier for students to make it to class even with fulltime jobs and families.”

Gina Houzenga, also from Clinton, agreed with her fellow students: “It has exceeded my expectations. I was concerned about juggling my family, job and school all at once. The staff and instructors have been very helpful to ensure my success. I have found the accelerated pace to be a benefit; it is easier to stay focused and on track.”  Houzenga, enrolled in the BAOM program, lives in Clinton and works in the human resources department at Nestle Purina Pet Care Co. in Clinton. One of the first students to enroll in the Ashford’s accelerated programs, she has completed 10 courses.

“The accelerated program is ideal for working adults with other priorities other than school,” Benson said. “Many of the instructors were ‘non-traditional’ students at one point themselves, so they fully understand the current cycle the student is going through.”

Ashford added the accelerated courses to its curriculum in August 2005. The programs are offered only one night per week, in 5- and 6-week formats, only focusing on one class at a time. Students can earn their degrees at Ashford in less time than if they were enrolled in comparable, conventional program.

“The assignments involve combining life and career experiences with the material we learn about,” Schroeder said. “There is a great deal of material to be read and (some) courses conclude with the writing of a reflective or summary paper where the student talks about how the concepts learned will be implemented in their lives or professional career.”

He said, “The material is based more for students who already have a career and are learning skills to better themselves personally and their organizations.”

The students have already begun using some of what they have learned in the classroom in their jobs. “I have already implemented some of the knowledge I have obtained at Ashford in my career at the Sheriff’s Office. I hope to become an effective leader using the skills I have learned, better serve the citizens of Clinton County and improve the performance of my organization,” Schroeder said.

According to Benson, “I have already begun to apply the knowledge I have gained through AU at work, home and in my personal life.  I also hope that obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees will help me to further my professional career at Lyondell Chemical.”

“I would recommend this program for those individuals who are motivated, focused and purpose drive,” Houzenga said.           “The accelerated program is very ‘user friendly’ for the returning non-traditional student. “Because time is of the essence for the mature, working adult, this program is perfect.  Classes are completed quickly and it's easier to stay focused.  Plus, because most of us in this classroom setting are working adults with families, we can learn from one another and encourage each other along the way. 

For more information about Ashford’s accelerated programs, interested persons can contact Angie Spittler, Admissions Manager, at 800.242.4153, ext. 3411 or visit the University’s website at www.ashford.edu/adult.

Founded in 1918 as Mount St. Clare College in Clinton, Iowa, Ashford University is a coeducational institution regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with programs in education, business, accounting, criminal and social justice, computer animation and graphic design, and other areas.  The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a range of student activities and athletics, at its Clinton campus.  Online degree programs are available in education, organizational management, business administration, and psychology.  The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable on-campus and online programs, with tuition fees among the lowest in the U.S. compared to other private institutionsIts tagline is: “Higher Education Made Affordable”SM.  For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu.