Classes begin at Cape Girardeau community college center

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Barb Tyler introduces herself to students in her college writing class on the first day of classes Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 for the Cape Girardeau Partnership for Higher Education. Tyler drives up from Sikeston, Mo. to the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center after teaching classes for Three Rivers Community College. (Fred Lynch)

Classes began Monday for 165 students enrolled at the new Cape Partnership for Higher Education.

There was excitement in the halls today, said Tinea Ortega, academic adviser for the Partnership.

"This is the first time that many of them have attempted to go to college," Ortega said. "The smaller environment has them less apprehensive."

The new community college center consists of four classrooms at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center. The Partnership is a joint effort by Mineral Area College, Southeast Missouri State University and Three Rivers Community College.

It was the small class sizes that brought Amanda Hente of Jackson to enroll Monday at the Partnership.

"I went to Mizzou my freshman year and the classes were huge," she said. "In big classes I feel like I don't get as much attention."

After having a tough first year at the University of Missouri in Columbia, she said she hopes to improve her grade point average by taking classes at the Partnership and eventually enroll at Southeast Missouri State University.

Lower cost per credit hour compared to four-year universities is another benefit of the Partnership, she said. Cost to attend classes at the Partnership is $124 per credit hour, compared to $184.80 per credit hour for in-state students at Southeast.

"It's cheaper, but you get the same education, if not better," Hente said.

Convenience also is a factor that's drawing students to take courses offered through the Partnership this fall.

"I was enrolled at Sikeston [at Southeast Missouri State University's School of Extended Learning] but this was a lot closer and easier for my work schedule," said Matt Bierschwal of Cape Girardeau. "The prerequisites are all the same no matter where you take them."

Some students attending classes at the Partnership are also enrolled in other programs offered at the Career and Technology Center.

Chris Skaggs of Jackson has been taking culinary arts classes offered through the Career and Technology Center, and this semester is adding writing and math classes to his schedule by enrolling at the Partnership.

"I'm working to get my associates degree in culinary arts," said Skaggs, who graduated from Jackson High School in May.

A total of 29 general education courses are offered during the Partnership's first semester of classes. A variety of subjects are covered including general biology, history, art appreciation and art history, college writing, college algebra, public speaking and human development.

Day and evening classes are available five days a week, Ortega said.

Of the 165 students enrolled, 111 are working toward associate of arts degrees and 54 are working toward associate of applied science degrees.

"We were hoping for 200 students. We got close. It will grow from here," said Dr. Randy Shaw, assistant provost of extended learning at Southeast Missouri State University. "This is a nice size group to get the bugs and the kinks worked out."

Shaw expects to have a few more students enrolling in the next few days as classes get underway.

Students may enroll in courses through Friday.

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Pertinent address:

1080 S. Silver Springs Rd. Cape Girardeau, MO

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