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McCreary Center going down to 2-day schedule?

Some Somerset Community College campuses, McCreary Center included, will be going to a two-day-a-week class schedule next spring.

Somerset Community College officials stress this is not a cost-cutting measure, as enrollment is dropping; rather a way to better accommodate students’ needs going forward.

Steve Hammons, Director at the McCreary Center says the move is designed to help the growing number of students who have economic and transportation issues.

“By condensing the schedule into two days a week, it cuts down on the student’s costs to travel to campus, plus it helps them with things like child care or if they have a job.”

The move will not reduce the number of classes offered at the Center, and will not affect the culinary arts program, which will retain its 4-day a week schedule.

“Students can still earn a full 15-credit hour schedule, in just two days a week,” he said. “It will make it a longer day for the students, but they will still have the same opportunity to take all the classes they want.”

The McCreary and Russell County centers will operate classes on a Tuesday and Thursday schedule this coming spring, while Clinton and Casey County will be on a Monday/Wednesday schedule.

The college will remain open five days a week, with professional academic advisors available during their regular Monday through Thursday schedule. Additionally, financial aid will be offered on Thursdays as well.

Hammons said this scheduling will allow instructors to work two days at one campus, and two days at another, making it easier to have face-to-face interactions with the students. Many classes offered at the main campus in Somerset and at the centers are currently taught through Interactive Television, where students are able to watch the lesson via television and interact with the instructor at another campus.

By splitting the class schedules, more students will be able to attend live classes and not rely on the interactive method.

Enrollment has declined in recent years in the SCC system, down more than 40 percent from 2011 according to “The Bridge”, SCC”s campus newspaper. The 2015 fall semester has seen a decrease in enrollment of more than 8 percent when compared to last fall.

Hammons said the McCreary Center has seen a significant increase in students taking on-line classes, but the number of students receiving services from the college has not declined.

While many students like the ease of taking classes at home, and studying at their own pace, Hammons said he believes that trend may be reversing as on-line students miss the interactions with instructors and students.

By condensing the schedule in to two days, he feels many on-line students will make the transition back to enrolling in a physical class.

If the experiment is successful, the two-day schedule may become a permanent fixture, but SCC administrators will monitor it closely before making that decision.

“We will try this model this spring,” Hammons said. He added officials will be conducting student surveys as it progresses before deciding to keep it in place, or return to the original class scheduling.

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