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Nicolet College - Life-long learning, professional development classes attract thousands every year

Life-long learning, professional development
classes at Nicolet attract thousands every year


Posted Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010

Want to learn how to start a business, fly an airplane, or set up a Facebook account? How about learn Chinese, paddle a sea kayak, try yoga, or master your digital camera?

All of these things and many others are possible through Nicolet’s Business and Community Education Program. Nicolet recently released its latest Community Education schedule that includes 65 new classes in addition to more than 200 others, with many of these being long-time favorites people have enjoyed for years.

cooking class“What really makes this program work – and makes it so popular – is the wide variety of classes we offer,” said Sandy Kinney, executive director of Communications and College and Community Initiatives at Nicolet. “I look through the course catalog and am constantly amazed at the diversity of offerings.”

So what is it that makes these classes so popular?

“Most people are inquisitive by nature," Kinney added. "They like to learn new things that are of interest to them. These classes allow them to do that in a relatively short period of time and typically in more of a casual setting than what they’d find in traditional for-credit college classes.”

Nicolet also holds these classes in many of the communities in the Nicolet district, from Presque Isle and Mercer to Boulder Junction, Crandon, and Elcho as well as the larger cities in between.

The Business and Community Education Program consists of three tracks: Professional Development, Community Education, and the Outdoor Adventure Series.


Professional Development

Business, leadership and computer training along with professional licensure classes are the focus of Professional Development classes.

"Our main goal is to help businesses, industries and the employees who work at these companies stay up to date with the changing nature of business,” said Sandy Bishop, director of Workforce Training and Economic Development at Nicolet. “When we accomplish that goal, everyone benefits. Businesses become more efficient and profitable, individual employees enjoy professional success, and the region as a whole enjoys greater economic development.”

Each year more than 2,000 people take advantage of Nicolet’s Professional Development and work-related continuing education courses, she added.

This spring the college will offer more than 100 different professional development classes that will cover leadership, time management, business development, small business essentials, small business essentials, computerized accounting and bookkeeping, the internet and computer software.

New in spring will be a series of Office Advantage Seminars designed specifically for office and administrative assistant professionals “These classes will focus on practical tools and techniques to improve productivity and personal effectiveness,” Bishop explained.

Other learning options include customized training developed for companies with specific training needs as well as occupation-specific continuing education.


Community Education

Just-for-the-fun-of-it learning defines Nicolet’s Community Education classes.

“These classes tend to be very interactive and activity-based,” said Jodi Fox, Community Education coordinator. “What commonly happens is that everyone ends up learning from everyone else.”

FittnessThat interaction - the social aspect - is a big draw for many students taking these classes. “Over time a real sense of community develops in many of the classes,” Fox added. “Along with learning something new, it’s also a great way to meet new people. It’s really wonderful to see people start the class as strangers and then grow into being good friends as time goes on.”

Community Education classes are popular with retirees and senior citizens, who pay a significantly reduced rate to take the classes once they turn 62. “A lot of times they can take classes for just a few dollars,” Fox added. Some people like the classes so much they take them over and over. “We have some people who have taken the yoga class for 20 years, “Fox explained. “They just love it.”

Community Education classes include arts and crafts, dance, cooking, gardening, photography, and health and fitness. New classes in the next session include Just a few of the many new classes include: Buy and Sell on eBay, Ponds and Waterfalls, German and Polish Cuisine, Log Cabin Quilt, Belly Dancing, Photoshop Elements, Adobe InDesign, Papermaking, Painting the American Kestrel, All New Pizzas, Preparing Your Garden for Spring, Is Your Dog Aggressive?, Music for the Campfire


Outdoor Adventure Series

Mom said it best: “Go outside and play!” That’s the motto for the Outdoor Adventure Series, and one that has served it well ever since the series started 14 years ago.

apostle islandsOutdoor Adventure classes focus on teaching students new outdoor skills and providing numerous opportunities for nature study. Sea kayaking classes, which range from afternoon introductory sessions to multi-day adventures to the Apostle Islands and Isle Royale, are the most popular. Canoeing classes on many of the Northwoods’ scenic lakes, rivers, and flowages are also popular.

“It’s very rewarding to see the transformation in people that takes place over the course of a class,” said Martha Schouweiler, Outdoor Adventure Series coordinator. “Many start out a little nervous simply because they know little to nothing about an activity. But over time, you can see their confidence grow and grow. And by the end you know you have given them the skills to enjoy an activity for the rest of their lives.”

The full complement of Outdoor Adventure classes include nature study hikes that focus on birding, wildflowers, and butterflies; collecting wild rice, stand-up paddleboarding, mountain biking, skiing, yoga, fly fishing, and learning how to use a global positioning system (GPS).

Click here to view the latest class schedule.

For more information on any of the above offerings, contact the Nicolet College Welcome Center at (715) 365-4493, 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4493, TDD (715) 365-4558 or relay 711.