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Bellevue University gears up for fall class
May 09, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy photo - Members of the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber Ambassadors present Bellvue University president Dr. Mary Hawkins with a first dollar at a ribbon cutting held during Business After Hours at the Harms Center last week. The Bellvue team and WNCC staff and administrators celebrated a new era of exciting educational opportunities at WNCC.

Beginning this fall, residents will be able to work further toward their bachelor’s or post-graduate degree without having to leave the area.

Western Nebraska Community College recently partnered with Bellevue University, ranked ninth by the U.S. News for Top Online Education Programs in 2013, to expand learning opportunities beyond the two-year college level.

Mell Cooper, the university’s Community College Outreach Manager for western Nebraska, said they’re planning to get a business course up and running this fall on the WNCC campus. And if there’s demand, more will be scheduled.

Bellevue’s demographics focus on working adults, so many of their classes are available online, which accounts for about two-thirds of the school’s enrollment.

Cooper said the courses offered by Bellevue include many in the medical field (excluding RN programs). They also offer many information technology classes, such as information management systems and cybersecurity. Business classes include a track toward earning a MBA degree. And a number of criminal justice classes will also be available.

Degrees available through Bellevue go from Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, up to Master’s and a PhD level program in Human Capital Management. All of those programs are currently available online.

“Our philosophy at Bellevue is to help western Nebraska students get to the next level,” Cooper said. “Many working adults have family obligations, so it’s difficult to move. The expense of higher education is also a factor they have to consider.”

Cooper added it takes students to create a class, whether it’s online of in a classroom setting. “We’re here to stay, so we’ll try to make this the best for the Panhandle and western Nebraska graduates.”

It’s been more than a year since WNCC and Bellevue University entered into discussions about bringing upper level education to western Nebraska. It’s the sixth of seven community colleges in the state where Bellevue has a presence. They also have two stations in South Dakota and two in Iowa. In total, they serve more than 16,000 students.
In addition to the wide variety of majors offered, Bellevue’s liberal credit transfer policy makes it possible for busy adults to earn their degrees, even with the other challenges of life.
“This isn’t a new thing we’re doing,” Cooper said. We’ve been providing this type of education for a number of years. It’s just taken that long for us to get out here.”
For more information about Bellevue University programs offered locally, contact Cooper at (308) 635-6772 or by email at mell.cooper@bellevue.edu.
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