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2015 Fall Linfield

Revitalizing OCE As a young girl, Rachelle Rehberg ‘16 dreamed of attending college and becoming a buyer for a clothing retailer. She graduated from high school early and at 17, wasn’t ready for college, so she got a job in retail. Fast forward a few years and she had climbed the ranks to become general manager at the Gap Outlet in Lincoln City. Her lack of degree had not held her back. Then came an opportunity to work short term in China where a first-ever Gap store was opening. That chance was sidelined when the Chinese government refused to grant a visa because she didn’t have a college degree. Within a week, Rehberg enrolled in Linfield’s Online and Continuing Education program. And even though she’s never set foot on campus or met her classmates, she’s on track to fulfill that dream of getting her college degree. Strengthening the online program Linfield has long been a leader in adult education in Oregon, launching a program in 1975 with faculty teaching night or weekend classes at locations around the state. Since then, with advances in technology and student demand, courses went from a combination of face-to-face and online classes to exclusively online. And with the advent of digital education, the number of colleges offering courses online has exploded. “OCE continues to be a strategic advantage for Linfield,” said President Thomas L. Hellie. “At a time when some of the nation’s most elite colleges are beginning to create online programs, we already have them. But if we don’t strengthen and expand our offerings, we will be surpassed by colleges more willing to seize the opportunities.” Over the past two years, Linfield’s OCE (formerly known as the Division of Continuing Education/Adult Degree program) has undergone a transformation to revitalize programs to appeal to a broader and changing population. OCE continues to offer six bachelor’s degrees and four minors, including a new creative writing minor launched this fall. In addition, certificate programs designed to enhance skills and knowledge in specific subjects have expanded into five new areas (see sidebar on page 9). “The reorganization will reflect and complement our strengths as a liberal arts college,” Hellie said. Among the new offerings are certificate programs in wine marketing and management, coaching, creative writing, global health and software engineering. Online programs don’t just serve adult learners, according to Laura Brener, director of OCE. Today’s 18-year-old is comfortable with online learning and eager to enroll in classes. In addition, there’s an untapped market of retiring baby boomers who are interested in attending classes but do not desire to earn a degree or certificate. They want the opportunity to address 6 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Fall 2015 Rachelle Rehberg, at right in Tecal, Guatemala, fulfilled her study abroad requirements for her international business degree in Guatemala, where she continued to study the Spanish language and immersed herself in the culture. She studied Guatemalan appearance and how traditional attire is tailored to meet business and cultural norms. She also spent time learning about business customs and interactions through a variety of observations and interviews. Rachelle Rehberg ‘16 OCE facts Average age: 37 Age range: 18-65+ Gender: 81% female, 19% male Students of color: 19% Part time: 79% Full time: 8% Certificate/non-degree: 13% Transfer students: 97% 45 faculty, including adjuncts, taught OCE classes last spring For more information: linfield.edu/oce


2015 Fall Linfield
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