Continuing Education breaks classroom standards
By Jay Pham
Students hear about the English, Math, and Humanities departments as they traverse through Pensacola State College. But have you ever heard of the “fun department?”
“People have referred to this department as being the fun department because of all the fun and recreational programs,” Continuing Education (CE) Program Coordinator Michael Listau said. “We have such a wide array of classes; it’s more for personal enrichment.”
CE offers courses that range from art and photography to beginner and advance belly dancing.
CE has been a non-profit organization since before Ronald Reagan became president. Since then, it’s been changing and adapting to better educate the community.
“That’s the fun of it; our courses aren’t always the same. Yes, we offer those successful courses term after term, but we’re always looking to try to add more. That’s from feedback of our students because student satisfaction is our number one goal,” Listau said.
“It’s [also] our goal to be reasonably priced. You will find that we are well under what you might pay in the community if it was for a for-profit entity.”
Listau has been the coordinator of CE since June 2016. Before that, he worked in PSC’s Student Activities for over three years.
Students can read through the catalog to find classes that interest them or put in a request for courses to be added next term.
“I’m constantly trying to seek feedback from our students and our community as far as what they want to see the department offer,” Listau said. “We have numerous ways that we can do that. On our website we have a way to suggest a course, or they can contact us via email, phone or in-person and let us know what they want to see.”
CE terms run differently than credit courses. PSC follows a traditional fall, spring, and summer schedule. On the other hand, CE offers courses throughout each semester, single day crash courses and private one-on-one lessons. The flexibility is there for whatever needs the community requires.
A concern with CE courses is the potential of classes getting canceled for not having enough students. “We’re having a lot of problems right now of people canceling at the last hour or two, so the rest of the students don’t get to make it,” CE instructor James Stegall said.
Stegall has been an adjunct instructor at PSC through CE since 1991. He understands everyone wants to pursue a traditional degree but acknowledges the benefits of continuing education courses.
“Well, of course everybody wants to take credited classes so they can work towards that degree. With Continuing Education, it’s just a matter of learning that new horizon, seeing what’s over there, trying something different– something new,” Stegall said.
“Years ago we used to do all day field trips, out of town, occasionally overnight trips. [Students] would make a comment after a long trip, ‘I’ve lived in this area all my life and I never knew there were so many fascinating and interesting things.’”
CE is perfect for students that have a hard time deciding what direction to go in or are thinking about changing their major.
“My biggest advice is there is something for everyone here. If students just look in our department and our catalog and come into contact with us, they’re going to find something that they enjoy,” Listau said.
“I think some [CE students] can use that as a stepping stone. I try to get them excited enough to where they’ll go and start digging, trying to find what’s new over the horizon. Most of the time we’re just scratching the surface,” Stegall said.
Browse through the catalog at ed2go.com/ce or contact the office for more information at (850) 484-1797. “We’re a large department, but there are many points of contacts. Depending on the class, there will be experts in that course,” Listau said.
Registration can be done by mail, online or in-person at the payment office on any PSC campus. CE is located in building 96 of the Pensacola campus. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters and 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer.