Renaming department emphasizes its services

Students are pictured in a class at the Traverse City Center. The Traverse City and Muskegon centers and the Meijer Holland Campus fall under the umbrella of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, which was recently renamed.
Students are pictured in a class at the Traverse City Center. The Traverse City and Muskegon centers and the Meijer Holland Campus fall under the umbrella of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, which was recently renamed.
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Grand Valley leaders said the decision to rename its Continuing Education department puts an emphasis on service to current and prospective students.

The new name — Center for Adult and Continuing Studies — was announced at the November 1 Board of Trustees meeting. Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said the name change reflects Grand Valley’s ongoing commitment to student success.

“It signals our commitment to remaining current and relevant in providing innovative and flexible programming that meets the evolving needs and interests of community members and the West Michigan region,” Hiskes said.

Simone Jonaitis, executive director of the center, said the new name provides a more accurate description of the services provided at the center, which range from degree completion to professional development to community engagement.

“In addition to providing an umbrella for all of our programs and services, it is a visible illustration of Grand Valley’s commitment to the nontraditional student,” Jonaitis said.

About one-fourth of Grand Valley’s students are nontraditional, which generally means students who are over age 24.

The name change also helps launch a new accelerated degree program in Grand Rapids. Jonaitis said an 18-month bachelor’s degree program in liberal studies, with an emphasis on leadership skills, will begin in the fall 2014 semester.

“The name change is important as we launch the Grand Rapids degree program,” she said. “It’s a more visible illustration of the value and importance Grand Valley places on the adult learner in our community.”

Michigan lags behind the nation (No. 32) in numbers of adults that hold at least an associate’s degree. Thirty-six percent of Michigan adults have at least a two-year degree, the national average is 38.3 percent.

Visit www.gvsu.edu/learn for more information about the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies.