We’re lucky to live in a community that strongly values and supports education, and as such, one that’s diverse in its programs and offerings available to students of all ages. From fantastic programs that prepare little learners for the classroom, to our excellent public and private K-12 schools, and on to prestigious post-secondary institutions and other notable continuing education programs, there’s no shortage of opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally.
Particularly for those who intend to pursue a college degree of some sort, there’s so much diversity just in that area alone. We’re all familiar with local favorites University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Southeast Community College, but there are also institutions such as Concordia University, Nebraska with campuses in Seward and Lincoln that have seen a steady increase in enrollment across all of their degree programs in recent years. With the uptick in student population has come exciting growth and expansion that will bring even more opportunity to future generations.
Since business is our forte, we consulted with Kathy Farrell, Interim Dean at the UNL College of Business Administration and State Farm Professor of Finance for the inside scoop. She definitely didn’t disappoint, providing a detailed account of what’s been in the works to date and what can be expected for the future of the CBA.
“The new $84 million, 240,000-square-foot College of Business building is the largest academic building project in the recent history at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Located at 14th and Vine Streets, the new building is the east bookend for Memorial Mall looking west toward Memorial Stadium. Architects for the project are Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York and Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture of Omaha. The new building will serve as a central gathering place for the CBA community and will be a welcoming place for the university and larger business community. It offers endless possibilities for the Big Ten College of Business, including interactive learning in state-of-the-art classrooms, one-stop student support services, cutting-edge technology, and space to host many events in the future.
Duly notable, the Clifton Strengths Institute was established by Gallup and the Clifton (Foundation) Family $30 million donation made in 2015 and is the only strengths research lab hosted at a college or university currently. The institute’s programming is designed to identify and maximize the talent of college students, faculty and staff to guide their personal, professional and leadership development through the use and application of strengths-based sciences. Every business student identifies their strengths through the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and receives one-on-one strengths coaching through an eight-week course their freshman year. Currently, CBA is the only institution to offer all students the one-on-one coaching. Throughout their time at CBA, students also revisit their strengths in the Professional Enhancement Program (PrEP) annually. The institute also positions students to develop entrepreneurial talent and leadership skills to build businesses, teams, and communities through the Clifton Builders program. Students, groups, and organizations within the university can also receive strengths coaching and workshop training.
All student services, such as undergraduate advising to assist students with planning their courses and career services who help with resumes, mock interviews, and internships, will be located on the first floor of the new building along with a Trade Room and the Clifton Strengths Institute. There will also be a student-operated store, now called the Husker Lab, that will serve as a hands-on learning environment. The sales data from the store will also be shared across the college to use in projects for all majors. There are so many new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff in the new building which opens this August 2017.”
She also details highlights from other areas that have been developed within the CBA in recent years. “The Center for Sales Excellence prepares students for careers in professional selling and helping to elevate the sales profession. A ‘Top University for Professional Sales Education’ by the Sales Education Foundation (SEF) in 2015 and 2016, the program teaches students how to sell themselves to employers, pitch their ideas and enhance their communication skills. Open to both business and non-business major students, students earn a certificate in professional selling after completing 13 credit hours of coursework.
CBA created the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics in 2016 to meet the educational demands students face in both supply chain management and business analytics. The department also offers a business analytics minor, and graduate certificates in both supply chain management and business analytics.
The CBA School of Accountancy ranked third in archival tax research and seventh in archival audit research in the latest Brigham Young University Accounting Research Rankings. The rankings indicate the quality of research and also expectations of publishing in top rated journals. The rankings also model a standard of excellence for those considering entering the Ph.D. program in accounting. In the spring of 2016, the School of Accountancy also began offering a new internship program which split the spring semester between an eight-week tax or 10-week audit internship partnered with six-week classes. This allows students to determine whether public or private accounting works best for them without delaying graduation. Prior to this new option, students often had to delay graduation to take a semester off to complete an internship.
We’ve also seen an increase of online MBA students for the fall. Our online MBA ranked number 12 in the world by Financial Times and 21st in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.”
Also a strong proponent of the trades, and with the labor shortage there as well as demand for professionals across the different medical fields, we consulted with Kat Kreikemeier of Southeast Community College, who reports the following trends as far as the most popular degree programs among their offerings.
“Three programs of study at SCC have wait lists for the 2016 Summer and Fall quarters. They are Automotive Technology on the Milford Campus, Radiologic Technology on the Lincoln Campus and Welding Technology on the Lincoln Campus. Other programs that have traditionally been very popular include Associate Degree Nursing (Lincoln Campus) and Practical Nursing (Beatrice and Lincoln campuses). As the need for qualified workers continues to increase in Nebraska, manufacturing-related programs will be in demand. Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Precision Machining and Automation Technology are just two of SCC’s programs in which those graduates will be highly sought after.”
She also elaborated on what sets SCC apart from other programs in the area, and those that are comparable across the U.S. “Southeast Community College is committed to being accessible. One of the ways we do that is by keeping costs down. SCC has one of the most affordable tuition and fee rates among Nebraska colleges. If people can’t afford to go to school, it’s not accessible. Scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available. The college also has made an effort to reach out to military veterans and their families. SCC has the distinction of being a Military Friendly School, and there is a dedicated Veterans Connect Center located on the Lincoln Campus.
For those students considering coming back to school, we have a talented team of admissions advisors who meet individually with students (and sometimes their support system, because we know that coming back to school often involves others in the student’s life) to discuss their goals. Based on the student’s goals, we develop a plan that is workable based on the life pieces they share. We discuss program options, career outlook, salary information, costs, financial aid, and scholarships, as well as what it would take to get started. We know that it’s a BIG step, and we’re going to be with a student every step of the way. Non-traditional learners are often seeking educational opportunities that they can complete quickly while still balancing their current responsibilities at work and home. SCC has done a great job of meeting these needs by offering coursework at a variety of times throughout the day, and we continue to see more programs offering evening and hybrid coursework. The flexible scheduling options gives non-traditional students opportunities that weren’t previously available. We even have some programs that have specific cohorts of students based on their schedule needs.”
As for Concordia University, Nebraska, the institution was recently ranked in the top 150 by U.S. News & World Report for the 2017 “Best Online Education Program.” Concordia launched the online M.Ed. in 2011 and has seen steady growth in both students and number of programs.
“Our Master of Education programs in Education Administration, Literacy, Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction, Early Childhood, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) have been designed by seasoned administrators and classroom teachers to provide our students with a dynamic experience in gaining the knowledge that will not only help them become better educators, but also leaders in their schools and districts,” said Jonathon D. Moberly, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Adult Education. “These programs have held accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) since their inception and are now accredited by the Council for Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP). We are honored that our Master of Education programs have been recognized in this way which is a strong testament to the work of our Master of Education Program Directors.”
Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited university. With its main campus in Seward and a Lincoln location in the Fallbrook area of NW Lincoln, Concordia currently serves more than 2,600 students. Concordia offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world.
Also among the highlights of Concordia’s degree programs is an MBA program, which was restructured a few years ago to a cohort model. Designed with both traditional and non-traditional students in mind, it boasts a well-networked program to balance work and stying that provides students with hands-on experience. Dean Moberly adds, “The Concordia University Nebraska MBA Organization Development Clinic that began in May of 2015 remains one-of-a-kind for MBA programs in the Lincoln area, providing students with hands-on experiences working with real organizations that need help while receiving course credit. Ideal participants are entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and existing small businesses whose values and missions align with ours. Concordia University Nebraska MBA students and faculty collaborate with these clients to assure a high-quality service is provided through a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence and the integration of faith. Businesses and organizations interested in this opportunity are welcome to contact Dr. Shannon Leinen, MBA Program Director, at (402) 643-7376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
While this is just the tip of the iceberg on what these prominent schools have to offer, and as far as all that’s available overall, as you can see there’s substantial opportunity out there for those who are interested in continuing their education. It’s a big commitment, but one that has the potential to be rewarding beyond measure as long as you find the right fit. We encourage you to explore your options, because you may be surprised at what direction it takes you.