Newsmakers: North Hennepin Community College Launches “Weekend College”
North Hennepin Community College launches Weekend College this fall as a way to offer more options for students to earn a certificate or complete a degree. Weekend College is exactly what you might think, courses offered on Friday nights and Saturdays through online classes or a hybrid mix of in-person and online classes.
Interim Provost Julio Vargas-Essex says North Hennepin saw the need for more flexibility and options like hybrid or weekend classes during the pandemic.
“It’s all about access to opportunity and the goal here is to provide as many opportunities for a student to get their education,” said Vargas-Essex. “We saw a lot of students leaving because of loss of a job or other responsibilities and needing that flexible schedule to meet around their life circumstances. In conversations with faculty, staff, and leaders we were able to develop this model that provides flexible schedules that meets them on their life journey.”
Vargas-Essex says the goal is to create a schedule that allows a student to look two years down the road and schedule classes accordingly. Classes are offered on the weekend, online and even as accelerated seven-week courses.
The program launches this fall and there are three programs involved in North Hennepin’s Weekend College. Students can earn business administration, computer science or human services associate degrees in two years through courses taken on Friday nights and Saturdays.
“We are adding other programs, like public health, technology, STEM areas and high demand areas that we know employers are looking for and we know that students and the public are looking for,” said Vargas-Essex. “We are building as we go, but we’re really going to listen to our students and meet their needs first.”
This option is part of a growing push to offer students what Vargas-Essex calls “stackable credentials.”
“Students nowadays really want to be able to get the biggest bang for their buck. They want to complete multiple degrees, earn multiple credentials or certificates as they move forward with their degree,” said Vargas-Essex. “They don’t have the time and they want to get it done in a timely manner and move forward.”
To help students, North Hennepin will offer dedicated staffing on Saturdays once a month beginning Aug. 27 for students to get help with the enrollment process, which includes financial aid, career support and registering for classes. You can learn more about Weekend College here.