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Degree fast track new at PHCC

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) students now will be able to earn associate degrees in one year instead of two.

As part of the new “PHCC Uptown” program, courses toward an associate in arts and sciences degree in general studies will be taught at Jefferson Plaza, the Artisan Center and other locations in uptown Martinsville.

Courses in English, history and biology that students initially take in earning associate degrees will be offered uptown. Other classes to be taught there include courses in psychology, music appreciation, religion, statistics, business management and political science, a pamphlet for the program shows.

How the courses are scheduled will help students who want to earn a degree in a year.

Classes will be taught daily in 50-minute sessions from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays over four sessions beginning Sept. 9 and continuing through next August. Different courses will be taught in different sessions, according to Kris Landrum, PHCC’s public relations and marketing manager.

In contrast, classes taught at the college’s main campus in Henry County usually are taught either two or three days a week and last from 80 minutes to three hours, Landrum said.

For students with jobs or other obligations to work around, the shorter daily classes might be an easier fit with their schedules, she said.

The same course work will be covered in the shorter classes as the longer ones. However, instructors will go through lessons more quickly during the shorter classes, according to Landrum.

That may suit some students but not others.

“Each student has a different set of abilities” in terms of how quickly they are able to comprehend what they are taught, Landrum said.

If students take a course during each class period in each session, they will be able to earn an associate degree in a year, she said.

But “they will have to make a time commitment to it,” as well as to any homework associated with the classes, Landrum said.

The main purpose of “PHCC Uptown,” she indicated, is to reach out to local business people — including those who work in Martinsville’s central business district — who may want or need to earn an associate degree for career advancement.

Uptown workers will be able to take classes without having to travel to the main campus, helping them better manage their time, Landrum said.

In addition, students who already have taken courses toward an associate degree but need to take a few more to meet the requirements will find the program useful, she said.

In that case, “you don’t have to take all of the classes (needed) at once,” but take them as time allows during the academic year, she added.

Also, students attending classes on the main campus who could not get a class they needed there — such as when class slots fill up before they can register — may be able to take that course uptown, Landrum said.

Students can enroll in “PHCC Uptown” courses until classes start Monday. For more information on the program, call 656-0325.


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