FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — A new program announced at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will help working adults earn a bachelor’s degree in an affordable, hands-on academic environment.
According to the college, the Adult Degree Completion Program will provide a streamlined educational pathway for students returning to school with 30 or more credit hours to pursue either a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership or a Bachelor of General Studies.
Previous college experience does not have to correspond to those areas of study. Students also have the opportunity to receive class credit for prior working experience.
Other eligibility requirements include having five or more years of work experience and not having previously earned a bachelor’s degree. UAFS says it will consider students who do not meet all requirements on a case-by-case basis.
During the first semester of the program, students will enroll in two courses: a portfolio review class, in which students will create and submit a portfolio of prior work experience to determine how much course credit can be awarded, and an introduction to adult learning course that will reintroduce students to study skills and inform them of campus resources to help them with their education.
According to the college, the course instructor will also serve as their academic advisor throughout the program.
The introductory courses will be evening courses taught in person, but the remainder of classes will include online or in-person course offerings based on the student’s preference and availability.
“This program will truly meet students where they’re at, addressing the obstacles they face in returning to school to earn a bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Edward Serna, UAFS interim chancellor. “We designed this program based on focus groups and surveys of non-traditional students to learn more about them and their challenges. The ADCP is truly a program shaped for and by the working adult.”
The program is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by Serna to advance the university’s five-year strategic plan goals. He said the program will fill a valuable need in the Fort Smith region.
“Nearly 30 percent of Arkansas residents 25 years or older have completed some college-level work,” Serna said. “There is clearly a need to help them come back to school and earn their degree so they can advance in their careers or find a better paying job. Educating students and helping them earn degrees is the core of our mission here at UAFS, and this program reflects our dedication to that goal.”