A new accelerated general studies degree program at IPFW will accommodate working adults with families and busy schedules.
The General Studies Advantage program will begin this fall and allow students to attend just one class a week and take advantage of online courses.
A student who has acquired at least 60 college credits can earn a bachelor of general studies degree in 18 to 24 months in the Advantage program.
IPFW has offered the traditional general studies degree program for more than 40 years, offering courses in a broad range of subjects. Both the traditional and new accelerated general studies programs allow previously acquired college credits from accredited institutions.
Keith Kiess, 46, has been an IPFW student for three years and will graduate next spring with a major in general studies and a minor in communications and organized leadership.
Kiess works full time at Vera Bradley as the business intelligence technical manager. He has been working in the technology field for 20 years and has had a lot of technical training, earning an associate degree from IPFW in 1993.
When he found himself wanting to go back to school, Kiess selected a general studies degree.
I already had the experience in one area and the technical training in another, Kiess said. I chose general studies to broaden my knowledge and horizons. The general studies program was perfect.
Kiess completed six credit hours each semester and also enrolled in a summer class.
The flexibility is great; thats one of the things I like about IPFW – it offers lots of weekend, evening and online courses, Kiess said.
Popular minors for the general studies degree include business, communication, organizational leadership and supervision, psychology and sociology. Certificate options include advanced manufacturing, supervisory leadership and small-business management.
To be admitted into the program, applicants must have credits previously acquired from post-secondary learning.
Faith Simpson of Kendallville, a single mother of four ages 12 through 17, returned to college several years ago thinking she would study education.
Then, she said, she decided to change course because of the high numbers of teachers who were being laid off at that time.
I switched to general studies and really liked it, Simpson said. I found I could customize my classes and schedule and take classes that were designed for me.
Simpson, 42, obtained a general studies associate degree in 2011 and will earn her bachelors degree in August.
IPFW first employed Simpson as a work-study student and three years ago hired her full-time as a program coordinator.
Simpson works at the Kendallville campus during the school year and at the main campus in Fort Wayne in the summer.
Simpson said she wishes the new Advantage program existed when she reached the 60-credit mark.
If so, I would have certificates to add to my degree without having to take extra classes, she said.
IPFW recently held two informational seminars for the new program.
We saw general studies students who had been out of college for a while who were interested in registering, as well as new students, general studies director Julie Fellers Hook said.
Student applications are currently being accepted for the first semester, which begins in late August, Fellers Hook said.
Theres still plenty of time, and we are happy to talk to students anytime, she said.