Over the past decade, U.S. universities have been addressing the growing number of post-traditional students seeking nontraditional educational means to obtain undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees and certificates.
National data shows that these post-traditional students—categorized as 25 years or older and most usually employed—now outnumber the traditional 18- to 22-year-old student taking college courses in residence.
With the grand opening of the School for Continuing, Online and Professional Education (SCOPE) at the University Center of Greenville, BJU is expanding its educational mission to primarily serve these post-traditional students.
“Many of these post-traditional students seek to broaden their employment skills or prepare for advancement or just new careers. They need a broad range of educational options and flexible modalities,” said Dr. Beverly Cormican, BJU vice provost for strategic initiatives and dean of SCOPE.
Plans for More in Development
BJU, which for years has maintained online dual enrollment programs for high school students and online undergraduate courses, will expand its offerings to include degree completion programs. Earlier this month, the University launched an online RN to BSN degree track, and plans include developing credit and non-credit certificate programs in areas such as healthcare, technology, project management and education.
BJU is the 10th school to join the University Center of Greenville, whose facility on South Pleasantburg Drive is two miles from BJU’s main campus.
“Our move into this facility is another testimony of Bob Jones University’s commitment to participate in and enhance Greenville and the Upstate communities,” BJU president Steve Pettit said. “They are not only home to Bob Jones University but to 7,992 graduates who currently live in the 10 counties comprising the Upstate.
“With the spirit of community involvement among our alumni and students, we are eager to grow our service to the Greenville community by increasing our educational offerings at the University Center. We will offer high-quality undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs all taught from a Christian worldview.
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 64,500 Greenville County residents 25 years or older have earned some college credit but not a degree. We can enable many of these individuals to complete a degree and at the same time provide programs to help others significantly improve employment skills, particularly in areas such as health professions, education and business.”
Just the Beginning
Founded in 1987, the University Center’s mission is to advance the access and attainment of higher education degrees for the citizens and economic community of Greater Greenville and the Upstate.
David A. Taylor, CEO and president of UCG, welcomed BJU as a partner.
“I like to think it’s a big deal to be at the University Center of Greenville. The 10 members are all South Carolina-based, they are also all accredited and they’re also strongly ranked,” he said. “That’s critically important for what our board of trustees, (the South Carolina) Commission on Higher Education and General Assembly expect us to do, and that is to bring academic programs that are valuable to our citizens and students and the business community.
“After 32 years of operating in Greenville and being in this location since 2001, I like to say we’re not at the end, we’re at the beginning because there are so many things that we still need to do, there are so many academic programs that we still need to offer to benefit our citizens and our economic community. Bob Jones University is one of the next steps in helping us continue to provide that service.
“It’s also the beginning of a new phase for Bob Jones University, which has thousands of alumni working, embedded and contributing to the economic vitality of our region and beyond. This is one more step that the University will take what they do in service to the citizens and economic community.”
BJU, ranked fourth for 2019 Best Value in the South by U.S. News & World Report, is nationally accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) and regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).