A management development associate degree accelerated program offered at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) — Chilton Regional Center, appeals to working individuals.
The management development program is designed for working adults possessing occupational skills who want to improve their leadership skills. One such person might move from being a co-worker today to become a lead person or supervisor after the training, said Colleen Schnell, director, Chilton Regional Center operations.
The course of study is done in an accelerated format in which students come to school one night a week for three years and earn their management development associate degree. In the accelerated format, classes meet once a week for four hours. Each three credit class is completed in six to eight weeks, with each class running four hours per week. Taking only one class at a time, the student is able to juggle responsibilities of work, home and school. The majority of students at the Chilton campus have been working adults from companies such as Briess Malt & Ingredients, Kaytee Products, Calumet County, Sargento Foods, Aerotek, American Finishing Resources Inc. and Milk Specialties. A few dislocated workers also chose this degree and this degree has assisted them in acquiring their current employment, an indication of the program’s success, said Schnell.
“We try to bring the education close to home if at all possible and in this instance, it is possible,” Schnell said about the management development program.
An easy decision
A past graduate of the Management Development Program and employee at Milk Specialties, New Holstein, Roger Hansen had this to say about the program: “My decision to attend Fox Valley Technical College in Chilton was an easy one. Working full-time and coaching sports, accelerated classes gave me the opportunity to earn my associate degree close to home. The staff and the instructors were excellent to work with to reach my goal. I would highly recommend Fox Valley Technical College to anyone wanting to further their education.”
The entire program can be completed at the Chilton campus, a factor that eliminates long distance travel for area working adults. “Should personal or work obligations cause them to skip a class or two, they may attend a class in Appleton, but if students stick with the progression of the entire program, the course in its entirety can be completed at the Chilton campus,” said Schnell.
Another graduate of the program, Connie Daun, who serves as Chief Deputy Clerk of Court at the Calumet County Clerk of Court Office praised the program for additional reasons: “Attending this program was easy because of the convenience of being close to home and only having class one night a week. FVTC not only helps and mentors students through the process, but also has an amazing scholarship program that assisted me in achieving my goals.”
Group projects done via e-mail
In the accelerated format group projects are undertaken and are often done through e-mail, an arrangement that prevents having to meet additional times. Homework supports base knowledge and classroom activities apply that knowledge through problem solving. The course is not heavy test oriented, Schnell said. Many of the instructors are practicing in their respective fields and are chosen for their expertise in a particular area and so problem solving is done with real life situations.
A student may start the program whenever they are ready to do so but they would have to pick up courses missed either online or at the Appleton campus.
In fall the program will be done in ITV (a course that uses the technology of interactive video or live TV). Students will be served at Clintonville, Waupaca, Oshkosh and Chilton. Instructors will rotate to these various sites. Schnell said ITV was chosen because it was not known whether a sufficient number of students would register at the Chilton Regional Center. Sending them to Appleton is not a preferred choice and neither is cancelling the class. Under this arrangement (ITV) completion of the course is guaranteed.
This is the second time the management development program is being offered. Its origin was prompted by companies which expressed a need for their employees to get this type of training. Some of the companies encouraged their employees to enroll in the program. About half of the students have received tuition reimbursement from employers.
Laying out the course
The core courses (37 credits), plus six elective credits for the management development program take two years to complete. This is followed by one year of general education (21 credits) qualifying one for an associate degree. This can be followed by the two-year business management associate degree program. If someone wanted to finish the management development degree program in two years they could do so by taking courses online or by attending class an additional night each week.
Schnell said all forms of communication are stressed in all classes. No matter what skills a student may possess, lacking proper communication skills a student will encounter problems. Problem solving and the ability to analyze situations are of equal importance.
Today’s workers reach decisions and provide information to customers in a team or just-in-time environment. The old assembly line concept is not around much anymore. Now and for the future, education enriches our personal and professional lives. Bringing together people from different companies allows them to learn from one another and such networking means sharing the various trainings found in the management development program, Schnell said.
Management development program graduate and Learning Center Manager Michelle Goodman has this to say about her experience: “The Management program at FVTC fit into my lifestyle very easily! The team at FVTC works with you to help the experience be as satisfying as possible for everyone. I feel I gained confidence as well as knowledge going through the program and not to mention lifelong friends. I highly recommend it.”