ESU Announces Opening of Lehigh Valley Center
Dr. Robert J. Dillman, president of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, and John B. Callahan, mayor of Bethlehem, Pa., announced the Fall 2012 opening of ESU’s Lehigh Valley Center at 60 West Broad Street in Historic Bethlehem.
“This is a great opportunity for East Stroudsburg University,” said President Dillman. “We know many people out there are juggling a career, a family and finances in these trying times. Our aim is to offer them opportunities to advance in a supportive and convenient environment, and the Lehigh Valley Center is certain to do just that.”
“Our institutions of higher learning have always played an integral role in the City of Bethlehem, and today, still continue to serve as an economic driver. Occupying space in a commercial building in the downtown ensures dynamic growth, increased town-gown relations, while keeping properties on the tax rolls,” said Mayor Callahan. “We look forward to a long relationship.”
“East Stroudsburg University started using an extended learning model in January 2011 by offering a degree completion program in Center City Philadelphia,” said Dr.Van Reidhead, provost and vice president for academic affairs at ESU. “We’ve had great success and anticipate having the first graduates of the Philadelphia program in December 2012. We think the new Lehigh Valley Center will meet a great need in this community and enable ESU to offer excellent degree programs to residents at an affordable cost and in a delivery manner that will fit their lifestyle.”
Dr. Marilyn J. Wells, vice provost and graduate dean at ESU, cited the Lehigh Valley Center Extended Learning programs as “an example of how ESU is transforming the way we teach and the way students learn in order to allow students to achieve their goals and find success in their careers and lives.” Although the programs are rigorous, Dr. Wells pointed out that “rather than short-changing children from quality time, parents who seek to complete degrees role model the value of lifelong learning and higher education for their children and families.” In addition to undergraduate degrees, Dr. Wells said, “Completion of a bachelor’s degree opens the door to graduate education…a mission we are committed to in the LehighValley.”
According to Jennifer Serowick, director of extended learning at ESU, the Lehigh Valley is a natural fit for degree completion programs. “Initially ESU’s Lehigh Valley Center will be used to provide bachelor degree completion programs in: public health, with concentrations in health services administration or community health; hotel, restaurant and tourism management; and computer security. The programs are the same programs offered on campus just offered in a different location/format,” Serowick explained. “Degree completion programs are those in which students can apply existing earned college credits and complete one of these degrees in two years of evening and weekend study in the convenient Bethlehem location. Only upper division courses will be offered, which enables students to apply transfer credits to meet lower division general education requirements.”
“The ESU Lehigh Valley Center has been a long time in coming due to planning and market research,” said Serowick. “We opted to begin with these three degree offerings as a result of a feasibility study conducted by MGT of America that predicted economic growth in industries related to our program offerings.”
ESU’s accelerated degree completion program leads to a bachelor’s degree and, depending on the number of existing credits held by a student, can be finished within two years. Credits earned from other institutions and programs are easily transferred into one of these degree programs. According to Serowick, academic advisors will work with students to prepare an individual transfer credit evaluation so each prospective student will know exactly what he/she will need to graduate. Students may take up to 30 credits per year. Two courses (six credits total) will be offered during each eight-week session, two nights per week and on Saturdays. Courses are scheduled in five eight-week sessions throughout the year to help students earn their bachelor’s degree within two years.
In addition to undergraduate degree completion, ESU will also offer several graduate programs at the Lehigh Valley Center beginning with a master of education in reading with a reading specialist certification. There will also be opportunities for other businesses and organizations to use the Center for meetings, seminars and workshops at a reasonable cost.
All classes will be held at the Lehigh Valley Center in a secure, accessible and comfortable environment in the heart of downtown Bethlehem. In addition, the program offers affordable tuition, financial aid for eligible students, an academy approach to learning (faculty work directly with students to achieve highest educational results) and educational assignments and experiences that enable students to make use of the Lehigh Valley’s many resources.
The building now housing ESU’s Lehigh Valley Center is represented by Dunn Twiggar, a full service commercial real estate company in Bethlehem, Pa. “When the ownership of 60 West Broad Street acquired the building and invested a significant amount of capital into the property, their goal was to attract new high quality tenants, such as ESU,” said Ryan S. Dunn, principal for Dunn Twiggar. “We are very happy to bring ESU to this location and look forward to a long and successful relationship with both ESU and the City of Bethlehem.”
Cohorts for each of these degree programs are anticipated to start in Fall 2012, but students should apply as soon as possible by contacting ESU’s Office of Admission at 570-422-3542 or online at www.esu.edu/applynow. Additional information may be found at www.esu.edu/lehighvalley or by calling ESU’s Office of Extended Learning toll-free at 1-877-422-1378.