Adult Degree Program welcomes new students, families during first convocation event
Some of the students who recently attended a new UW-Green Bay Adult Degree Program event won’t be coming back to campus — at least not anytime soon.
Instead, most of the 40 or so adult learners are completing most or all of their coursework online, an option that allows them to pursue their degrees amid busy schedules and the demands of work and family life.
So it only made sense that families, along with the students themselves, were invited for the first annual New Student Convocation and Family Welcome event Oct. 1. About 100 people attended, including students, spouses and children of all ages.
“We understand that this is a huge transition for adult learners,” said Eric Craver, director of external relations for UW-Green Bay’s Division of Outreach and Adult Access. “But it’s also a huge transition for members of their family who are going to have a member of the household in college now.”
The day’s events were designed to ease that transition, including a welcome and tour for students and families, as well as a variety of sessions on topics from personal finance to writing. A panel discussion featuring current and former adult learners and their families offered stories of personal experience, along with tips for the incoming students.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas K. Harden addressed the adult learners, sharing his own experience of returning to higher education as an adult. Retired faculty member and former Interim Provost Bill Laatsch encouraged the students to follow their dreams in the classroom, pursuing the areas of learning about which they are most passionate.
UW-Green Bay students of all ages, and especially adult learners, increasingly are taking advantage of distance education offerings to reach their educational goals, officials say. More than half of UW-Green Bay students age 25 and older are taking at least one distance education class this fall, and more than 40 percent of students in that age group are taking only distance education classes, according to UW-Green Bay’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.
During the Oct. 1 event, each student attendee formally was welcomed to UW-Green Bay in a convocation ceremony that capped the day’s festivities. Adult Degree Program officials say they plan to make the convocation and family welcome an annual offering.
That’s good news for students like Mary Gajeski, who said the event made her feel welcome and at ease.
“It made me more comfortable, just some of the things that I’ve been learning today,” she said. “The apprehension really is lowering, the more that I’m learning and listening to other people.”
More information about UW-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program is available online.
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Photos by Dan Moore, Outreach and Adult Access