OPS enrollment on the rise

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Clint Heinze -- Online and Profession Studies staff members celebrate reaching an enrollment milestone.

This past fall semester, California Baptist University’s Online and Professional Studies (OPS) department surpassed 1,000 students in enrollment. With enrollment figures on the rise, OPS will continue to experience growth in faculty, facilities and in its degree program offerings.

OPS has just opened two new education centers in Santa Clara, which is in Silicon Valley, and in Clovis, which is located near Fresno.

“We have consultants that we have hired in each one of those facilities to assist us with recruitment and to start letting people in that area know that we offer programs,” David Poole, vice president of OPS, said.

The facilities can accommodate informational sessions for prospective students. The education centers will also accommodate on-site meetings in their classrooms for students taking hybrid courses this coming fall.

These locations will also utilize Cisco video technology, called Webex, allowing students to interact with departments on campus in a face-to-face format through high-definition video.

OPS is expanding its faculty size to support its growing enrollment numbers.

Poole explained that OPS is seeking to add an additional 12 to 15 full-time faculty members to its ranks, which will double its number for the 2012-2013 academic year. Additionally, OPS is hiring additional adjuncts and lecturers.

The department is also expanding their student support staff and recruitment staff.

“We are looking at ways that we can help with tutoring and retention for certain classes doing some online as well as face-to-face. That would be in the student support area. We want to make sure that is happening,” Poole said.

With new faculty, OPS will also need to expand its infrastructure. Poole explained that they are looking into more office space at their Tyler Plaza location in Riverside.

In the next year, OPS will also be expanding its list of degree programs.

Several degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels are pending WASC approval. These include undergraduate degrees in Communication Studies, Public Relations and Journalism, Graphic Design and Digital Media and Computer Information Technology. Additionally, master’s programs in Public Relations and Journalism, Counseling Psychology, Business Administration and Education are also pending.

In November 2011, OPS began building out professional development courses designed to help working professionals expand their skill set or complete continuing education units. The first course begins this month.

“What OPS is able to do with the professional development side is build out custom training programs for individuals and organizations. We are also building courses that are required for various professional licenses along with general ones so that anyone that wants to take them can,” Poole said.

One example of students taking professional development courses is Emmanuel Mustapha. Mustapha explained that he is deeply involved in his church ministry in Ghana, Africa having planted over 500 churches and was seeking an opportunity to advance his business skill set while being able to continue his missions work.

Mustapha just finished his first course, “Leadership and Organizations.” He and Poole communicate once every week over Webex. In between meetings, Mustapha completes his coursework online.

“I’m really enjoying it. It is very helpful and it is very convenient. Cost-wise it is more effective.

I don’t have to fly from Ghana to [the U.S.] for lessons…it cuts costs and makes it very effective and efficient,” Mustapha said.

Mustapha will take six custom-built professional development courses over the course of nine months overseas.

Poole explained that he and Mustapha are also discussing the option of training other leaders working with Mustapha in Ghana through OPS coursework.

By these innovations, OPS will continue to expand in all areas to help meet the needs of existing and new students.

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