After being offered for nearly 30 years at TUCC, most non-credit courses will no longer be available at the campus after the Fall 2010 semester.
William Parshall, the executive director of TUCC and Ambler Campus, said enrollment is to blame.
“Last year, the bottom just dropped out of our enrollments, principally due to the economy,” Parshall said.
The decision came at the end of October, after administration tried to raise enrollment through new marketing tactics.
“We had a separate information session just for non-credit courses, we enlisted the help of instructors to talk-up the courses and we tried to do more e-mail blasts to people who had taken courses in the past,” Parshall said.
“TUCC has been incurring significant financial loss since 2003, but it became apparent by the middle of October that the school would not meet its revenue goal,” Parshall said. “All the weight falls on me to ensure that programs are meeting their enrollment and financial goals, and if they don’t, they start to impact the health of the campus otherwise.”
As many as 90 classes will end, including personal enrichment courses from the university’s Institute for Continuing Studies and career development seminars and professional certificate programs from the Business Agenda.
The Real Estate Institute, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Temple Music Preparatory Program will continue to offer non-credit courses.
“We plan to continue to be at the forefront of the real estate industry by constantly growing and expanding our course curriculum at TUCC and increasing the expertise of professionals in the field of real estate,” REI Director Barbara Korns said.
Korns said the institute is the largest program for professional real estate education in the tri-state region.
“We’ve worked really hard to contain our costs and to make sure we end our fiscal year with the right income versus expenses,” added Mark Huxsoll, the director of the music preparatory program.
In addition, five professional certificate programs will remain, including meeting planning, website design, editing, project management and interior design. Non-credit courses have traditional spring, fall and summer semesters, but they vary in structure and cost.
“Some are one-day workshops, some are once a week for eight weeks, some are three evenings. But in general, the ones we are talking about are much shorter than credit courses,” Parshall said. “On any given night, we have between 100 and 200 students enrolled in [non-credit programs] at TUCC.”
Parshall cited competition in Center City as another reason for the failing courses.
“When Temple started these courses, there was a lot less activity downtown. Now a lot of restaurants are offering their own cooking courses – there are microbreweries – and it’s led to increased competition, which has decreased enrollments,” Parshall said.
With many of the courses being eliminated, the change has raised concerns about students’ understanding of the remaining programs.
“People might misunderstand and think that all non-credit activities have stopped here. That is something we’re really trying to be careful about, making sure that folks know we’re still here with music prep,” Huxsoll said.
It will still be possible to take some of the eliminated courses at other Temple campuses.
“The Temple alternatives are the Ambler and Fort Washington campuses, or online through ed2go.com,” Parshall said. “The full range of courses will still be offered at the other two campuses.”
“I think decisions will be made based on cost, taking into account time and cost of the course. People are busy and don’t feel like trekking out to Ambler to take a class. They might find themselves alternatives in the city,” Kraft said.
“The rest of us hope that we can keep serving the public and keep these valuable services going,” Huxsoll said, “and connect with people so that we have the numbers to keep it together.”
Becky Kerner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.