CCE program offers opportunities for adult students, past and present

As World War II was coming to an end and soldiers were coming home, a committee of local businessmen and educators gathered to discuss and plan the future for the educational and employment needs of the adult population.

After many months of planning and fundraising, the Downtown Evening College opened its doors at 615 Market Street in downtown Greensboro.

Since its inception in 1948, the program has changed dramatically. The name has changed from the Downtown Evening College to the Greensboro Division of Guilford College to its current name: the Guilford College Center for Continuing Education. It has also shifted from its original location at 615 Market Street to 501 West Washington to its current location on Guilford’s campus.

The Evening College was not officially part of the Guilford Community until its merger was approved by both Guilford College and the Downtown College Boards in March of 1953.

“I have always thought that having ‘real live adults’ on campus is a positive thing,” said Sue Keith, former director of the Academic Skills Center. “Younger students reap more ‘real world’ connections and are often inspired by what an older student is doing.”

In response to the needs of the adult community, Guilford developed programs such as family and adult housing, childcare. In addition to her other work, Keith helped develop the adult transition classes Guilford provides for CCE students.

Although housing is no longer available for adult students and families, childcare and adult transition classes continue to serve as vital components of the program.

“The CCE program may be unique because of special accommodations needed for the adult population, like the availability of a financial aid advisor during the evening and childcare services,” said Mary Bubar, senior and office manager for the CCE department. “Academically there is no difference between traditional and adult students. We all have something important to contribute to the classroom.”

“A lot of programs encourage adults to go off campus to do online programs or they will offer adult students a bachelors in liberal studies which is not the same … we don’t,” said Rita Serotkin, dean for continuing education and director of summer school. “The other thing is most adult programs are taught by part-time faculty, where as the majority of the classes for CCE students are taught by full-time faculty so you really are getting a better experience.”

One of the major and perhaps lesser known benefits of the CCE program at Guilford is the strong sense of community, according to senior and CCE Student Government President Victor Vincent.

“I like to think of the CCE program as a family,” said Vincent. “For example, during the holidays a fellow student’s house caught on fire and the family lost everything. As a community, we were able to help the student with clothes, food and a place to live.”

Over half a century later the CCE program, staff, teachers and students are still working to meet the educational needs of adult students in and out of the classroom.