A new approach to continuing education: Transition planned for University College, related programs

University College offers more than 40 degree and certificate programs. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

Continuing education at Washington University in St. Louis will become more strategic and community-focused with the implementation of a number of structural and programmatic changes over the next academic year.

Designed to expand opportunities for partnerships and collaboration across all schools and units, the transition will reposition University College, the university’s professional and continuing education division, as a new hub for continuing education and summer school with a greater focus on engagement in the St. Louis region.

“Continuing education and professional programs have been a hallmark of Washington University since 1908,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. “As we reaffirm our commitment to making higher education in its many forms available to students from all walks of life, at every stage of their educational journey, we are taking these steps to ensure that University College and related programs are evolving to meet the changing needs of our student population and the St. Louis region. This is an important advance toward making that happen.”

Currently situated within Arts & Sciences, University College and the Summer School will be repositioned to reside under the leadership of the Office of the Provost, along with other related continuing education programs. During the transition, the college will be led by Heather Corcoran, the Halsey C. Ives Professor of Art, who will serve as interim dean, effective Aug. 1. Corcoran will succeed Mark Rollins, professor of philosophy and philosophy-neuroscience-psychology, who has led University College since 2015.

On July 1, Rollins will return to the faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Corcoran will conclude her tenure as director of the College & Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, a position she has held since 2014. A search for a permanent University College dean will take place during the 2019-20 academic year.

“We are grateful to Heather for her strong leadership, both in her current role in the Sam Fox School, and in her upcoming turn as interim dean of University College,” Provost Holden Thorp said. “During this important time of transition, her insight and expertise will be invaluable as we consider the future of continuing education and summer school at Washington University and merge University College with related programs to strengthen our overall portfolio in this space. It’s an exciting time for us and the St. Louis community, and we’re eager to get to work to enhance our current efforts and develop innovative and signature programs to maximize the university’s impact on the region.”

Founded officially in 1931 as the professional and continuing education division of Washington University, University College has been serving the St. Louis region ever since, with the mission of giving adult students the opportunity to experience the excitement of attending and earning a degree or certificate from a world-class research institution.

University College offers more than 40 programs of study, with degrees and certificates to help students advance their careers, explore new fields and grow personally and professionally. While many students pursue degrees, University College’s open enrollment policy also allows students to take evening undergraduate courses on a non-degree basis while exploring their interests. Learn more on the University College website.

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