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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

WCC Will Offer Afternoon Classes at Dexter High School

This fall, WCC will make it more convenient for Dexter High School students to take college classes right on their own campus.

“We’re offering basic English and math courses, and the classes will begin at 3:00pm so students can go directly from their high school schedule to college classes,” said Diana Sepac, director of Evening and Extension Services at WCC.

Dexter students who want to take the classes this fall should see their high school counselor as soon as possible to get a consent form signed. The form and details about admission requirements for high school students are available on WCC’s website.

WCC already offers some classes at Dexter High School, but in limited numbers and only in the evening. When the Western Center was closed for fiscal reasons, Sepac’s staff started scouting a new location to serve western Washtenaw County. The assistant superintendant of Dexter schools, Mary Marshall, approached Sepac and discussions began. “Mary’s son had attended WCC and really enjoyed it, so she was on board from the beginning,” Sepac said.

Last winter, WCC offered credit classes at Dexter High School in business, communication, English/writing, math, political science, and psychology, and this spring it’s offering English/writing, math, psychology, and speaking classes. The enrollments are “going gangbusters,” Sepac said.

“We are always exploring ways to deliver courses in manners and at times that best meet the students’ needs,” said Jim Egan, dean of Distance Learning. “The distance learning philosophy is based on reaching students who for some reason aren’t here taking classes on campus. As more people enroll in college, and as their lives get busier, we need to enable them to access college classes quickly and easily. The extension centers allow students to take classes close to home, and also to avoid the current parking shortage on WCC’s main campus.”

In the Winter 2010 Semester that just ended, more than 1,000 students took classes at WCC’s extension centers at Dexter High School, Brighton High School, and the Hartland Education Service Center. “Students start with basic-level classes close to home, and then hopefully warm up to the full-on college experience at WCC,” Sepac said.

The Dexter experience highlights the customer-friendly approach Sepac takes when opening an extension center. “All of our staff, including myself, represent the face of the College, and my expectations are very high for customer service,” she said. At Dexter, Sepac began by working with Principal William Moran. Then she brought in staff members, including two experienced coordinators: Margaret Steptoe from Dexter and Connie Winters from Chelsea. They set up the WCC office and identified the area where classes would be taught. This was followed by a signage and way-finding plan that allows WCC students to get to their classes without disrupting high school activities.

Sepac said that when she and her staff go into a community, they’re looking for collaboration. “I believe the College’s philosophy across Washtenaw County is: How can we help you achieve your goals?” she said. “Since these schools have their fingers on the pulse of what the community is looking for, we really listen to what they have to say.”

Sepac consults with school officials and WCC deans and department heads to determine which classes are likely to run at the centers, based on what has worked before. They also discuss potential new classes that would meet community needs.

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