Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time recently featured a married couple in their 50s who, facing hard times in the recession, changed careers. They bought an ice cream truck and found happiness.
On the same segment, host Rob Ferrett interviewed Jeffrey S. Russell about educational opportunities for people in similar circumstances. Russell, the Dean of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies, discussed the university’s increasing array of programs for lifelong learners. While many associate UW-Madison with 18- to 22-year-olds who live on campus, Continuing Studies reaches out to community members of all ages.
“We’re a place where any person in the state and beyond can connect to the university,” Russell said. “It goes all the way from personal enrichment to acquiring new workplace skills in a changing economy.”
For those interested in career development—including new ice-cream-truck owners who need to brush up on their business skills—Continuing Studies offers both credit and noncredit programs. On pdc.wisc.edu, it also features more than 50 flexible degree and certificate programs that can easily fit a working professional’s busy schedule.
“We’re trying to figure out ways to offer courses on evenings and weekends and, where it makes sense, in an online format to make high-quality learning experiences accessible to more people,” Russell said.
On a journey
Russell, who serves as UW-Madison’s Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning, also discussed the options for personal enrichment at Continuing Studies.
“We’re all on a journey to build our knowledge in a variety of areas,” he said. “Continuing Studies is seeing a lot of interest in the humanities—dancing, art, writing—as well as workplace skills.”
Russell reminded listeners that UW-Madison’s Adult Career and Special Student Services offers free assistance for community members who need career or educational advice. Whether you want to start an ice-cream-truck business or complete your unfinished degree, the university is a place where people can feel welcome throughout their lives.