Tom Borg, Weber State University Continuing Education
Non-traditional becomes traditional at Weber State University’s Morgan Center in Morgan, Utah, as numerous students beyond the traditional college age go there for assistance and accommodation in reaching their higher-education goals. The Center’s location on the campus of Morgan High School provides easy, central access for the community. “Although a few high school students come here to work on their associate degrees,” says Barbara Anderson, enrollment coordinator, “we have some traditional students and many non – traditional.
Helping students learn how to get started in college, boosting their self-confidence, and providing some accommodations to meet their needs are benefits that attract students to the Center. Among the resources available are WSU literature and catalogs; computers providing WSU and Internet access; study areas; assistance with the admissions, financial aid, and registration processes; and testing services. “The ability to administer online exams on-site, along with administering the Math and English Accuplacer tests, has relieved students from a lot of trips down the canyon to the Ogden campus,” Barbara indicated.
Students look forward to coming to the center and enjoying the informal, quiet atmosphere to chat, ask questions, and begin the step-by-step process toward a WSU degree. Needed services including academic advising are brought in from time to time to help students understand college programs and general education requirements.
The Morgan Center, administered by WSU Continuing Education, is one of several off-campus venues for course work, professional training, and community involvement. These additional WSU locations include the WSU Davis Campus and the Training and Learning Center in Layton, the West Center in Roy, and the Kaysville Center at Davis High. These facilities have bolstered WSU’s ability to reach out and accommodate students in the surrounding communities, many of whom have complex schedules that limit their abilities to commute to the main campus.
Some WSU courses are offered in Morgan. Only one course is currently housed in the small facility, but others are taught at the nearby high school and middle school. The Center’s location on the campus of Morgan High School, with lots of daily traffic, provides good visibility and easy access.
Although the Center is still small, and currently only general education courses are offered, the potential for continued growth is great. Courses are delivered both face-to-face and by distance learning networks so that students over time may have greater access to campus courses without the fear that local courses may be canceled.
“This was a community endeavor,” Barbara acknowledges. “The superintendent wanted a ‘learning community,’ to provide transition and access for students of all ages. We have been able to do just that with this partnership with Weber State.”
With a staff of three, students are welcomed, assistance is given, and courses are monitored. With kindness, accommodation, and helpfulness, the Morgan Center staff and resources are helping local students reach their educational goals through a variety of methods, including face to face classes, online, and hybrid courses that use both. “We just try to find ways to help them get going,” Barbara explains. Indeed, non-traditional approaches become traditional for aspiring college students in Morgan.