UWA, ASC reach pact

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

DEMOPOLIS – Alabama Southern College and the University of West Alabama have formalized a joint operating agreement that provides an expanded level of higher education courses available in Demopolis.

Through the center, UWA officials hope to launch a three-tiered program that will bring expanded continuing education courses, graduate courses and a station for the university’s Small Business Development Center, said UWA Provost Dr. David Taylor.

“I place a great value on the residential [college] experience because students learn a considerable lot outside the classroom … however, in the real world we have people, due to family and work-related obligations who can’t take advantage of a residential experience but can [complete their education] through such a partnership,” he said.

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UWA will offer graduate education courses, teacher certification, a host of continuing education courses such as photography, small business management, geneology and arts and crafts.

Taylor said the university’s on-line distance learning will also get a shot in the arm from the partnership.

“We’re pleased [Alabama Southern] will help us promote our distance learning,” he said.

ASC computer labs at the Center will afford students high-speed internet connections to tackle courses in 10 areas and work on two bachelor degree programs – a bachelor of business administration and a bachelor’s degree in technology.

The partnership presents a win-win situation

– both for Alabama Southern and the school’s students.

“First of all, Alabama Southern has a tremendous respect for UWA and their 170-year history and we’re excited about the things they can do for our area,” said Dr. Arthur Ogden, ASC’s campus director.

“The cooperation and symbiosis is not only encouraging but it’s exciting,” he said.

For UWA, suffering from slightly lower enrollment figures this semester, it’s a way to recruit new students.

“Alabama Southern students can see their programs in Demopolis and go on to UWA when they finish their course of study with us,” Ogden said.

“Students come [to the Demopolis campus] for a variety of reasons, but all come for convenience. Some may go on to higher education and this partnership gives UWA a distinct advantage in gaining students,” he said.

To help UWA accomplish its mission in Demopolis, university officials recently named long-time Demopolis educator Beverly Youngblood as a part-time coordinator to man the center.

Taylor said the university would try to recruit “local talent” to augment its teaching faculty in Demopolis.

“We want to focus on attracting not only Marengo County students but use local talent to teach some of the continuing education courses as well,” he said.