Education moves outside of classroom

Katy Metz and Katy Metz

Step outside the box and the traditional boundaries of education and enter into an innovative educational program. A land of education that is not solely for the sake of degrees, but for the good of learning.

Learn Swahili via the Internet from an African instructor who teaches from Africa. Build a computer from scratch. Indulge in a day of complete relaxation including massages, manicures, yoga, makeovers and an British high tea or gain insight on how to start your own business.

These opportunities are all available in one place: Continuing Education, International ‘ Summer Programs (CEISP). An organization that works to serve the many audiences that embodies the Bowling Green community. No matter what people need, they strive to serve.

CEISP, a department at Bowling Green State University, offers credit and noncredit programs to learners of all ages, careers, and backgrounds.

“We serve the wider academic community both on and off campus that regular curricula can’t provide,” said Dr. Bruce Edwards, associate dean of CEISP.

CEISP offers various credit and noncredit programs. Credit programs include adult learner services, evening credit, distance learning, international, off-campus and summer programs. Noncredit programs are divided into professional training and development programs and individual enrichment programs. Professional training programs include the computer training center, business training center, small business development center, and the National Institute for the Study of Digital Media (NISDM). Individual enrichment entails option programs and programs for young people.

With a variety of program areas, CEISP is almost its own university within BGSU. “We are a maverick,” said Anita Knauss, director of marketing and promotions, “we are known for being innovative and creative.”

CEISP’s latest innovation is web registration, which allows students to register for their classes via the Internet. They will be the first department in the University to have this type of registration.

Besides web registration, the CEISP department has had more changes: a new dean. Dean William K. Balzer began his position as dean of CEISP on July 1, 2001. Balzer comes from BGSU Firelands where he has been interim dean since 1999. Although a new face to CEISP, Balzer has been involved with the University since 1983 when he was a faculty member of the psychology department. He has also held numerous administrative positions at the University including chair of the psychology department from 1993-1999.

Over the past four months, Balzer has been getting settled into his position and learning that “CEISP is a great place, but it can get better.” He sees the department’s main objective as “doing things that others aren’t doing to help our students.” His three main goals of “strategic planning, raising visibility and outreach of our dynamic environment and focusing directions on new initiatives” tie into his main focus.

Having both internal and external audiences, CEISP must work with both the University and the outside communities. “We work closely with the academic units to give students enriching opportunities,” Balzer said.

With a background in teaching , Balzer hopes to create a connection with traditional students at BGSU’s main campus. Traditional students are included in the audience of CEISP, which compromises segments both internal and external to the University. However, many students are unaware of the programs the department offers because they see CEISP for the noncredit and non-traditional programs they offer. They don’t realize that there are credit opportunities too.

“Students may have heard our name, but they do not know what we do or who we are,” Knauss said.

However, it may be the vast “broad base” of the program that contributes to students’ lack of knowledge.

Dr. Bruce Edwards, associate dean of CEISP and former BGSU English professor, believes that the main problem in student awareness is linked to the lack of knowledge the faculty has of the program.

“If the faculty were better informed, the student would be, too,” Edwards said.