Adult learners ‘have their goals in sight’

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Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 8:41 am

Education Center provides choices

Getting ready for back to school is not just for the grade school age student. Many adult learners are purchasing books and notebooks for their educational pursuits.

Redstone’s Education Center houses four different institutions where employees can find classes convenient to their life and work schedules in various areas of study.

While there are other colleges and universities convenient to Redstone employees in the Tennessee Valley, they can attend classes right after work and not leave the post. Athens State University, Columbia College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Florida Institute of Technology all have counselors and instructors available at the Education Center, now located in the recently renovated building 3495 at the corner of Aerobee and Patton roads.

Higher education institutions have been on post for more than 30 years. Servicemembers, their family members and civilians are able to take advantage of the convenient classrooms and courses.

“The feedback I get is that the students feel comfortable here because the programs are tailored for the work force,” education services officer Charles Williams said. “The classes start at 5 (p.m.) after they have worked a full day. They are in (class) with their peers, and peer age group as well. So they feel comfortable.”

Another advantage of the classes available on post is the student-to-instructor ratio. Williams said that in the classes at the four institutions located here “you have a small group of folks; 20 or 25 max, 30 students would be a really crowded class. The small groups are very attractive to the adult learner.”

The average age of the students in the classes on Redstone is 35 to 45. In years past when more Soldiers were located here, the student population was younger.

“There are not as many young Soldiers here like on other posts, we have more senior military members in our classes,” Williams said.

“The work force in our classes is more mature. They have their goals in sight, they know who they are, they know what they want.”

The degrees offered on post range from associate degrees to master’s; from general studies to information technology management. Most of the degrees line up with the types of jobs found at Redstone. The most popular degrees are in the business administration/management and criminal justice fields, according to Williams.

“We have a variety of programs offered here by the four institutions, but we guard against a duplication of services,” he said. “No two schools offer quite the same degree program here so that students have more choices.”

Students also enroll in classes here for various reasons, from just starting college for the first time to finishing a degree they started years ago at another institution, and from working towards a master’s to just wanting to take classes that are of interest. There are counselors available at the Education Center who will help students make the right decision for their goals.

You can find the counselors and school offices at the Education Center, building 3495. Also, there are many useful resources online at

When asked why someone would consider taking classes on post, Williams said, “I would like to think it is because we have really good quality programs and good quality schools here.”

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