Freddie Bell: On this Marvelous Marvin Hagler birthday—he was 64 years old—you have a very special guest in the studio, Chantelle.
Chantel Sings: Yes, we do. Talking about continuing education, from the University of Minnesota please welcome Tony Scott. He's been with the U of M since 2005. He currently advises students in Manufacturing Operations Management and Information Technology Infrastructure and for certificates in Accounting, Addiction Studies, and Applied Business. Good morning, Tony.
Tony Scott: Good morning, Chantel. Good morning, Freddie. Good morning Twin Cities!
Freddie: You're a busy man!
Chantel: Yes you are.
Tony: A little bit.
Chantel: When do you get some time off? You have a lot going on in that…
Tony: Plus I have kids at home, so I'm a very busy person.
Chantel: For sure. Well, we appreciate you stopping by to talk to us about the College of Continuing and Professional Studies program. Can you tell us what is this program about?
Tony: Well, the College actually works with adults who are looking at returning to school, who may have started a degree back in the day and haven't finished and would like to complete that degree. Or they may be in an organization that they reach that they're still in and they can't go any higher because they don't have a degree. So they're looking to come back to get that degree, so they can go and hopefully earn a little bit more money and achieve some of the goals that they want to have in the organization.
Chantel: So, are there certain… For this specific program, what are some of the studies, what are some of the different courses of study that you can choose from?
Tony: That's where... the programs I advise are Manufacturing Operation Management and IT Infrastructure, so those who work in the manufacturing field and want to do more there or those who are interested in technology and want to do networking or data science or systems, it allows them to gain those computer or technology skills so they can move up in their organization. But then we have another program where individuals who want to create their own degree program, they can put together courses from different colleges on campus to design their own degree. So that's another program in our College.
Chantel: Wow! So that can be from anything that the U of M offers?
Tony: Almost. There are some limitations, but for the most part, if students want to create their own degree they can do that.
Chantel: That's amazing, I've never heard of that. I think that's really amazing, because you can kind of try different things—
Tony: As a matter of fact, I have the Inter-College Program degree from the University of Minnesota. I studied child psychology, youth studies, African American studies.
Chantel: Wow, that's amazing! So what exactly is an applied education?
Tony: Applied means that whatever you learn in class at night, you're supposed to be able to take it to the worksite the next day and put it to work. So it's a little less theory and more applied. So our professors are actually working adults so they have... whatever organization they work for in the day, then they come to teach courses for us in the evening. So it's very applied, like I said, less theory, more real-world knowledge. So that when they go to work tomorrow they say, you know I just learned this last night. I can use this today.
Chantel: Mm-hmm. Do you think that it's tough for people who have, like, for this to be a continuing education program for adults who have graduated years ago. They graduated like in '05, '06, and it's been a while since they've gotten their first degree. Is it tough for them to get a job in a position from that degree these days? They haven't been in that, like you said, applied: they haven't applied those skills in a long time. Is it harder for people to get work in that field?
Tony: It may be a little bit harder, but what I tell all my students is that whoever gets in front of your application, you got to sell yourself, and so you gotta better tell them what you learned in your course of study and how that's going to be of value to their organization. So, yeah, there's a little challenge, but with a challenge, that means that's a greater opportunity for you to talk about who you are and what you will bring to that organization.
Freddie: What's the average age of a student in continuing education?
Tony: Well, we have both traditional and nontraditional-aged students, and so I would say probably late 20s to mid 30s. But we also have students in their 50s and 60s who are doing change of careers, or who would like to pursue a passion of theirs, so they're coming back to school.
Freddie: So how does that work? So, a person has maybe a year, maybe two of college. You go through the program: how long do you go through the program to get some type of certificate or degree?
Tony: Well, for the degree, degrees at the University Minnesota are 120 credits, and it depends on the number of credits you come with, and also that commitment, that time commitment. Are you able to go full-time or part-time? What's the class hour, evening or online? And so for those who are coming evenings, they may be able to take twelve to thirteen classes, and it may be three to four years. Or if they want to speed it up some and get it done in two, that's definitely possible. It just depends on the number of credits they bring with them.
Chantel: Wow, this is… I just think that, I'm sure, a lot of people don't have the knowledge about this program, which is something that a lot of people probably would be interested in.
We're talking to Tony Scott, he's a senior academic advisor at the U of M for the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. So you can bring in previous credits to this program?
Tony: Yep. And then also for our certificate programs: one of our certificates is 15 credits, it's our Applied Business Certificate. And I know a lot of us have small businesses, or we desire to own our own business, but we don't want to go and spend the money on an MBA program. But we want something small to get us some knowledge on marketing, or operations, or finance—how to properly run our business. So someone can come in and do a 15-credit certificate, and have some knowledge to help take their organization or their business to that next level.
Chantel: Right, and it looks good to say that you're certified in this or you're certified in that. What are some of the other benefits? What kind of job will this type of degree or certificate, what kind of jobs can it get you?
Tony: For specifically, for IT infrastructure, they can get jobs in networking systems. Security, which is really big right now. Every day, we open the paper or turn on the news, we see another company that had a data breach, so they're looking for qualified, skilled IT professionals to help protect that data and their organizations, so they can do that. The Accounting Certificate is another program that I advise for, so anyone who wants to sit for the CPA exam, they can go through our certificate program and become a CPA, so they'll have that designator to put on their business card and say "I'm licensed by the state."
Chantel: Wow. Well, is there any type of… do you need to qualify? Or how do you get into this program?
Tony: We are not a freshmen-committing college, first, and so that means someone does have to come with at least, say, 26 to 30 credits for a program. Other than that, just have a GPA hopefully between 2 to 2.5. But we work with students from all angles, and so we want to make sure that people see the University, or our College as a small part of the University, that we are friendly faces that… They can come in and we want to help them achieve their goals.
Freddie: Are there scholarship programs available?
Tony: We do have scholarships for our students. If you have at least a two-year gap in your education, we have some nice scholarship money available to returning adults.
Chantel: Wow, amazing, amazing, Tony Scott! How do we find you? We're all looking for you.
Tony: All right. Well, I can be reached through our Information Center, which the number is 612-624-4000. That's our Information Center, but people can also go to our website which is ccaps.umn.edu. And there's information about all of our degree programs, both undergraduate, graduate level, and certificates.
Freddie: This is exciting stuff!
Chantel: It really is. So, thank you so much for talking, stopping by, taking time. You have such a busy schedule, you have so much to cover!
Tony: Yeah, thank you again for having me.
Chantel: It's a great program.
Tony: Can I get one quick shout-out to my class of 1988 North High Polars? We have our class reunion coming up this year, so all you Polars out there, go Polars!
Freddie: Ah, Tony, we don't do shout-outs.
Chantel: Aw, man, take it all back. That part will be erased from the tape, okay?
Freddie: I don't know if we mentioned: Tony holds a BA in child psychology, youth studies, African American studies, an MBA in consulting... you the man!
Chantel: I'm telling you.
Tony: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Chantel: He's covered all… He definitely went to this program, because he studied a lot of things within the scope of one degree. Love it. Thanks so much, we appreciate you.
Tony: Thank you again for having me this morning.
Freddie: It's our pleasure.