Fifty years of growth for CCE program
March 19, 2004
Filed under Archives
t is hard to imagine that the CCE program, now a few students short of half the college’s population, held its first class 50 years ago in a small house at 615 W. Market St.
The story of CCE’s inception starts at the end of World War II. The G.I. Bill gave federal aid to war veterans continuing their education, so men began returning to school. Also, many women who worked in industries during the war had not been adequately prepared for employment and wanted education to continue working.
In response to the demand, the Greensboro Evening College was created in 1948 as a nonprofit corporation, headed by Guilford faculty member Grady Love. The school held its classes in a few small buildings downtown.
Because adult students did not receive credit for their studies, the evening college decided to merge with Guilford College in 1953, under the direction of President Clyde Milner. The union with Guilford allowed adult students to pursue bachelor’s degrees – the first adult education program in North Carolina to do so.
Milner saw the acquisition of the program as “a significant opportunity for Guilford College to carry out its goal of providing lifelong education to area citizens.”
The evening college, staffed by Guilford professors, became the Greensboro Division of Guilford College and moved to a bigger site downtown. By 1965, the program’s student body had grown to 876.
In 1973, the program moved onto campus. Renamed the Urban Center, it faced new competition from other adult degree programs, as well as declining economy, increasing tuition, and the Vietnam War.
Associate Dean of Enrollment Anthony Gurley was a traditional student at Guilford but withdrew after two years and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He married and started a family, and did not return to college until 1975. As a CCE student, he graduated in 1977 with a sociology and political science double major.
“Guilford’s adult education program is different than most adult education programs, in that students who come through that program do not just come to class with other adults students,” Gurley said. “That intermingling of the generations and life experiences is different than in most adult education programs, and is a very strong positive.
“On the other hand, the adult students who are trying to juggle work and families and Cub Scout responsibilities are worn out and tired,” Gurley said. “They get an energy from being in class with traditional age kids.”
Now at its half-century mark, CCE enrollment peaked at 1,039 students in the spring. The program offers eight evening majors and certificate of study programs in several academic areas.
“We have the only forensic biology major in the state of North Carolina,” said Bill Stevens, Dean for Continuing Education. “We have the only criminal justice degree between Rocky Mount and Boone. We offer three times as many classes in the evening for bachelor’s degrees than UNCG.”
In addition to the unique selection of classes offered to CCE students, it’s clear that the CCE program’s experience is also an advantage.
“(The program) has been here for so long, so that it’s not an adjunct to the college-it’s part of the character of the college,” Stevens said.
“Because CCE has been doing this 50 years, they’ve got the process streamlined,” said Will Hall, a CCE student majoring in Computer Information Systems and president of the Student Government Association. “They stay up on the laws, rules, and regulations that govern adult education. It makes it easy for the person sitting in the info session to say, ‘this is the right choice.’”
Meeting the needs of adult students in all areas of their educational experience is key to success of the program. Night classes are arranged so that students can come two nights per week, instead of four. Classes are guaranteed to be held if three or more students register, so students are not gambling when they planning their schedules.
Hall said the Student Government Association addresses concerns such as parking, the expenses of the bookstore, and even the possibility of providing childcare services for parents.
The CCE program’s future looks bright, and 97 prospective students participated in last week’s info sessions.
The Center for Continuing Education will hold its Spring Awards Banquet from 6-10 p.m. on April 24. For more information, contact the Student Government Association at x2432 .