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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Church and Higher Education: Part 6: Western Governors University And Others Like It

Western Governors University doesn't really have anything to do with the Church although it's headquarters are in Salt Lake City and Phoenix. These two cities have extensive Mormon populations. Mike Leavitt, a Mormon, was governor of Utah when this school got put together. I've kept my eye on it ever since. I'm now a big fan.


What I like about WGU is the driving philosophy behind it.The Church seems to embrace it as I will show in future posts.


WGU is a non-profit school set up to exploit online learning opportunities. Tuition is a flat fee for six months and the programs are self-paced. Explore it yourself to understand what it offers and how it is different.


Having worked as a professor, and having been in academia a long time, it had instant appeal to me although I realized it threatened what I had worked toward all my life. As a professor I had many responsibilities such as teaching, publishing, designing coursework, grading, advising, community service, service to my department, service to my school, administrative responsibilities, etc. WGU doesn't place all these responsibilities in one position. IT breaks them up and assigns them out. The faculty positions at WGU emphasize only one of these responsibilities. It is a much more efficient set-up than the traditional university or college. WGU is more efficient and, I believe, more effective.


If I redid my life I would go to WGU or perhaps a community college. It has long been an established fact in academia that community colleges are better alternatives than state universities and colleges. You get more bang for your buck. Some states have set up their own agreements with WGU like Indiana, Texas and now Washington.


The Church has emphasized technical and vocational opportunities close to home in its educational initiatives. In the United States, that means community colleges, vocational schools and online opportunities. Certainly WGU qualifies.


New week I'll cover the Church's educational financial program and it's other pilot programs I'll bet you don't know about.


Until next week. . .

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