Center for Adult and Online Studies offers chances for Harding students

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published August 29, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated August 28, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Christopher Davis has been at Harding University in Searcy since 2009 and now serves as assistant director of the newly created Center for Adult and Online Studies.

SEARCY — Some people who want to go to college have jobs or other obligations that interfere with the traditional routine of college — but Harding University has a new program designed to help those students complete a college degree.

In April, Harding University created its Center for Adult and Online Studies.

Christopher Davis, assistant director of the center, said he is glad the university has opened the center, which offers nontraditional degree programs and courses.

Davis has been in higher education for 10 years and has been employed full time at Harding University since 2009.

“The majority of our students [enrolled in the Center for Adult and Online Studies] are nontraditional,” Davis said.

A nontraditional student can be defined in many ways, he said.

“My definition [of a nontraditional student] is any student who is over 23 years old, with 60 credit hours,” Davis said.

The average age of a student enrolled in the center is 37.

“Right now, the program [tracks] are limited to business and education,” Davis said. “We’re looking to expand in the future, and we are looking to develop other [degree programs].”

Davis said there are less than 100 students enrolled in the business program, and a few hundred are enrolled in the education program.

In addition to being assistant director of the Center for Adult and Online Studies, Davis is also an assistant professor of business.

“I can’t imagine doing anything other than Christian higher education,” he said.

The Center for Adult and Online Studies at Harding is reaching students nationwide, Davis said.

“Our students have access to everything online, in addition to on-campus resources,” he said.

Students in the program have full access to the campus and all of its resources, such as the library.

“Sixty percent of our students are full time,” Davis said.

Though most of the students are full time, a part-time track is also available for students who are enrolled in the center.

As assistant director of the center, Davis also acts as an adviser for students looking to enroll in courses.

“I love working with [nontraditional students] one on one,” he said.

As a professor in the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration, Davis said, he helped develop curriculum and printed materials for nontraditional students who were enrolled at Harding.

Students who enroll in the 128-hour career tracks can complete classes anytime of the day, and can finish their courses at a faster pace than with a traditional schedule.

“With online courses, students can log in whenever they can,” Davis said.

The demand of family, work and children can cause distractions for some students, but the unlimited availability of course work gives working students an opportunity to complete school in the wee hours of the morning if they desire to, he said.

Davis still teaches some courses in the College of Business, in addition to his other roles at the college.

“I love teaching — it’s my passion, and it’s where my gifts are,” Davis said.

More information about the Center for Adult and Online Studies is available at www.harding.edu.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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