Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017

MCC offers associate degree in Harvard

Harvard residents no longer have to leave the city limits to complete their first two years of college. Starting this fall, McHenry County College will offer an associate degree program in Harvard.

“MCC is offering this great opportunity for people in Harvard [or surrounding areas] to get an associate degree without having to leave Harvard,” said D-50 Director of Community Outreach Bill Clow.

MCC has offered classes over the last two years in Harvard. Lori Keller, associate dean of humanities and social sciences at MCC, said that the classes have been very successful with more than 160 students attending.

“We’ve had three successful semesters of piloted classes [in Harvard], all the while we’ve been developing the prospect of a full two-year degree offered on site in Harvard that includes all the general education classes that a student needs to fulfill the first two years of a four-year degree,” Keller said.

Sixty credit hours are required for an associate degree. The cost for the associate degree is about $10,000 for two years – $100 per credit hour plus books – according to Keller.

Five classes will be offered this fall and six classes will be offered in the spring. Classes for the first year will be taught at the Harvard School District 50 Central Administration Center, 401 N. Division St.

Keller said it is a narrow selection of classes.

“You don’t have a million things to choose from,” Keller said. “It’s very focused. … The nice thing is none of the classes overlap. Any community member can take take all five classes [the first semester] without having to choose between them.”

Next fall, different classes will be offered for the second year of the program, and the first-year classes will be repeated. Between eight to 10 classes will be offered next fall, which will be a space issue according to Clow, who believes the remodeling of the high school might provide a solution.

“With all the renovation at the high school, it does offer us opportunity for things like this,” Clow said. “The [additional] classrooms and the [new] HVAC system allows us to use the building in ways we couldn’t before. We’ll be working with the college in the future.”

Clow said the program is definitely needed in Harvard.

“Our research has shown MCC is not as much of an option as you would think for a lot of our population because it’s far away,” Clow said. “We are the farthest community from MCC in the county. A lot of our community residents have transportation issues. What the college is doing by offering these classes in Harvard is they are making it more feasible [for Harvard residents].”

MCC offered classes at Harvard Diggins Library during the pilot, and Keller said they may consider using the library in the future only if they don’t disturb the library’s schedule.

Keller said MCC is very happy with the partnership with D-50.

“It works wonderfully at the school district because most of the work is done by 4:30 [p.m.], which is when we would start,” Keller said.

An open house will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at the D-50 Central Administration Center. For information, call Keller at 815-455-8947 or email lkeller@mchenry.edu.