Dean Nichols Explains College Name Change

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The University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education (CCE) announced on October 2, 2017, that it is changing its name to the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS). The shift in the name is taking place in order to more accurately reflect the programs, courses, and services that the College offers. To learn more about this name change, watch this short video with Dean Mary Nichols or read the brief interview with her below. 

 

First off, please explain why the College is now choosing to change its name.

We wanted to make the change because the words “continuing education” resonate with some, but not all, of our learners. Over the years, the College has added a range of credit and noncredit programs for degree-seeking students, certificate seekers, and those coming to polish their professional knowledge through coursework and conferences. It’s this professionally oriented audience that we want our new name to reflect. We’re making the change now because we feel ready to do so.

It seems to be a trend that higher education institutions are adding this phrase “professional studies” to their names. Can you comment on that?

Yes, more and more universities are moving away from solely using “continuing education” in the name of their institution, and are now including the words “professional studies” instead or in addition. So, we at the University of Minnesota are not the first to do this, but we do want to get on board with the changes that are going on with similar institutions of high caliber. It’s also the case that our national association, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, incorporates the word “professional” into its name. We, too, think it makes sense for our learners and for our college.

Can you speak a bit about the College’s mission?

Certainly. I want to stress that with this name change, the College’s mission and ideals remain the same as before. The new name actually better reflects our mission, which is to provide opportunities for people to enhance their academic credentials, to advance their careers through professional courses, and to continue to learn across their lifespan through enrichment activities.

How is the College of Continuing and Professional Studies different from other colleges and departments at the University of Minnesota?

One of our biggest differentiators at the College is that we put strong emphasis on developing applied degrees. For example, IT infrastructure in the undergraduate level or addiction studies at the graduate level. To offer these applied degrees requires the College to be attuned to the ever-changing needs of the workforce in Minnesota and beyond. The courses in these applied degree programs are offered at convenient times with flexible formats so that we can better serve an audience of working adults. Another thing that makes the College of Continuing and Professional Studies different is that we offer individualized degrees, giving our students access to coursework across the U of M. And while our mission does not include research, it does place high importance on the translation of research into practical knowledge for bettering the society around us. We disseminate this knowledge through conferences and through our degree programs.  

What excites you most about the College name change?

It’s always exciting to turn a page, to follow the continuation of a story. That’s what makes this change most exciting to me. We have an opportunity to start a fresh chapter, to communicate with our audiences that we keep changing for the better. It’s an opportunity to live our aspiration of being attuned to what is going on in the world and contributing as best we can. The freshness is exciting to me.