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MTSU adult learner closing in on bachelor’s thanks...

MTSU adult learner closing in on bachelor’s thanks to flexible programs

Michelle Bradley started college as a 30-year-old adult student, but raising young children took precedent over her studies. Now, 10 years later, Bradley is back in class at Middle Tennessee State University enrolled in the Applied Leadership program.

Set to complete degree requirements by May, Bradley says she is so thankful to have found the Adult Degree Completion Program at MTSU.

MTSU adult learner Michelle Bradley of Christiana, Tenn., is on track to earn her bachelor’s degree in applied leadership in May through University College’s Adult Degree Completion Program. (MTSU photo by Hunter Patterson)

MTSU adult learner Michelle Bradley of Christiana, Tenn., is on track to earn her bachelor’s degree in applied leadership in May through University College’s Adult Degree Completion Program. (MTSU photo by Hunter Patterson)

“I enjoy that everything MTSU does is about the adult learner and developing skills, as opposed to just pushing people through and handing out degrees,” said Bradley, a Christiana, Tennessee, resident. “The courses are challenging and meaningful.”

MTSU’s Adult Degree Completion Program, the largest in the state, was designed to help adults finish their bachelor’s without massive interruption of their personal lives. Because of majors like Professional Studies and Integrated Studies, adult students can apply their knowledge and skills to degree requirements, making getting a bachelor’s degree efficient in both time and cost.

“This is one of the best ways to learn. It is so hands-on,” said Bradley. “I carry all of this with me. Everything I am learning is very applicable.”

The Applied Leadership Program, which typically blends online learning with on-ground courses, is one of the most popular routes adult learners take when finishing their degree. Because of coronavirus precautions, MTSU has moved all classes to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester.

In addition to college credit and eventually a degree, the program offers adult learners the chance to earn additional job certifications in areas such as Leadership Theory, Communication and Problem-Solving, Leading Teams, and Leading People and Managing Change.

“I appreciate the online classes because they fit with my schedule, but I prefer in-person classes because I am a more outgoing person,” she said. “In my first class, which was on a weekend, I was able to go into work on Monday with a better mindset.”

MTSU's University College holds a recruiting event at the T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, March 10. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

MTSU’s University College holds a recruiting event at the T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, March 10. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Bradley, who works at the T-Mobile call center in Nashville, enrolled at MTSU for a second time once she learned about the company’s tuition assistance. She said the company has been “more than supportive” of her goals and hopes to make T-Mobile her career.

“It’s a really great company,” Bradley said, who has worked at the call center for more than six years. “They really get behind their employees and I think it started because employees stated their needs. Then, the company just jumped in and filled those gaps.”

Bradley hopes to go back to work and encourage her T-Mobile colleagues to enroll in the program, and that will be easier now because of a new partnership between the company and MTSU. This summer and fall, three courses are scheduled to be offered to T-Mobile employees at the Nashville call center who are looking to finish their degree.

To learn more about finishing your degree or going to college as an adult student visit www.MTSU.edu/FinishNow.

While Bradley won’t need those classes since she is set to graduate this spring, she does hope the professors will let her in the classroom to speak to her colleagues about the program and the degree.

— Hunter Patterson (Hunter.Patterson@mtsu.edu)


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