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College of Continuing Education News

October 2010 Archives

College of Continuing Education alumni all have interesting educational and career stories, often of the road "less traveled." We'd love to hear your story and invite you to add a comment and share your favorite campus memories and subsequent life successes on this blog.



Providing for the well being of others is a powerful and meaningful enterprise. It's also something that requires individuals to bring their entire selves - mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially to the task. Because of that, the act of giving turns out to be one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer.

This year, 40 or so American billionaires have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth to charity through The Giving Pledge. These generous folks are clearly the economic elite. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who launched this effort, and Ted Turner who loves to make money, and to give it away, are some of those you might recognize. One of the 40 you might not know is Bernard Osher who is called by some "the quiet philanthropist." Years ago, Bernard and his wife, Barbro, decided to give all their wealth to charity before they die. And luckily for us, they have provided millions of dollars to the College of Continuing Education to support lifelong learning and lifelong learners. Their giving is enhancing and empowering lives every day here at the University of Minnesota.

This urge to share is alive and well across all among all of us. A recent study "Having Less, Giving More" suggests people with the least money are particularly motivated by a greater dependence on and concern for social relationships and, give a statistically larger percent of their incomes to charity. Many people know about Oseola McCarty, who in 1995 after working as a washer woman for her entire life, gave all her hard-earned savings, $150,000, to finance scholarships for black students at the University of Southern Mississippi. I even remember my own father getting dinged on his tax return because his charitable contributions exceeded the norm for a public school teacher with a family of eight.

Well, we believe in the greater good, in education, and in sharing our resources to brighten the future for others. This fall with the holidays and Thanksgiving coming up, I want to thank every one of you who have given of your resources to the College and its students. I hope your largesse has provided you with a great experience. And, to those who haven't yet made a gift, I invite you to try it. I think you'll like it!

All the best,

Kathleen Davoli
Director of Development
College of Continuing Education

July 1, 2009 - July 31, 2010

CCE Construction Management Program Scholarship Fund
Peter Hilger
Minnesota Construction Association

CCE Staff Campaign Fund
Josh Borowicz
Rose Brandt
Annette Charmchi
Jeffrey Fahrenholz
Andrea Gilats in memory of Sis Fenton
Peggy Lehti
Fran Van Slyke-Zaslofsky

College of Continuing Education Fund
3M Foundation on behalf of Barbara Qualey
Thomas Arneson
Marcella Bishop
Douglas Bright
Jerome Cherel
Gareth Degolier
Maxine Dilliard
Ella Dokken
Diane Ehrman
Marilyn England
Dean Eriksson
Express Scripts
Fang Consulting Ltd on behalf of Tracy Eberly
Mikhail Feynberg
Linda Frisell
Paul & Greta Garmers
Lisa Garrett
General Mills Foundation on behalf of Donna Scudda
Howard Gilbert
John Hartmann
Patricia Hazard
Mark Henning
Theodora Highum
Agnes Hilgers
Garnet Holmstadt
Stanley Hooper
Mildred James
William Jech
Joann Jones
Jennifer Jonsgaard
Jane & Ronald Kalin
Shirley Kallevig in memory of Rose Blixt
Neeta Kamath
Charles & Deborah Kane
Michael Kellett
Jean Kindem
Muriel & Roland King
Gary & Kathleen Kinser
James & Annearle Morris Klein
Jack & Gail Kochie
Stephen Lerach
Patrick Machnik
Cheryl Mc Fadden
Candace McClenahan in memory of Rose Blixt
Medtronic Foundation on behalf of Ronald Kalin
Lisa Monk
Mary L. Nichols
Robert Nolte in memory of Ethel Nolte
Grace Parsons
James Paster
James Perso
Susanne Peterson
Barbara Qualey
Alexandra Ray
Michael Sather
Terri Schlegel-David
Joseph Schmidt
Francine Schoen
Robin Schrag
Glenn & Donna Scudder
Securian Foundation
Marie Sedivy
Earl Sharp
Janice Sickbert
Arlene Skorich
Nan & Gerard Snyder
Nancy Stevenson
June Stout
Patricia Sulander
Mervin Tomsky
Joyce Vincent
Karolyn Walker
Evan Williams

College of Continuing Education Scholarly Events Fund
Thomas Hayes
Raymond Schreurs

Dean's Scholarship Fund
Jon Anderson
Ann Baack Essling
Norma Basgen
Boston Scientific Foundation on behalf of Brian Johnson
Ella Dokken
Hallie Glenna
Brian Johnson
Donald Johnson
Adam Johnson
Carolyn Karasch
Andrew Lear
Virginia Ledo
Daniel Lopez
Liana Ogawa
Curtis Wyman

Elnor Peterson Pahl Scholarship
Matt Musel
Sue Ponsford honoring Matt Musel

Graduate Liberal Studies Scholarship
Jill Bishop
Andy Driscoll
Charles Gribble
Arthur Harkins
June Kelly
Jo Ellen Lundblad
Nancy Russell
Tanji-Furzer Foundation
John Tomsyck
Edward Wilson

ICP/PIL Development Fund
David Wilkowske

Joan T. Smith Scholarship Fund honoring Graça Machel
Joan T. Smith

Julius Nolte-Harold Miller Scholarship
Robert Ahles
Alden Allen
Ameriprise Financial
Laura Anderson
Jeanne Andeweg
James Angrist
Darlene & Leslie Arndt
Dorothy Arney
Lois Baker
Lawrence Barnes
Isolise Barnes
Lisa Bartels
Virginia Barzan
Glen Bjornson
Rick Boddicker
Judith Boehm
Holly Books
Boston Scientific Foundation on behalf of Brian Johnson
Janet Broling
Elizabeth Brown
Terri Burrell
Bernard Burstein
Donald Cain
James Carbone
John Carlson
Peter Carlyle
Helen Chambers
Iola Christopherson
Dorothy Cleveland
Cindy Davis
Kathleen Davoli in memory of Rose Blixt
Kirsten Dawson
George Dendias
Robert & Beverly DeValk
Bernice Evelyn Dickson
Maxine Dilliard
Faith & Ronald Dohmen
Tracie Ecker
Mark Eckerline
Laura Eiklenborg
Diane Ellis
Alice Engelman
Joseph Finn
Diane Ford
Douglas Forsmark
Lynnda Frederick
Gladys Gallagher
Denis Gardner
Alvin Geerdes
David Gilberstadt
Gregory Goeders
Graco Foundation on behalf of Susan Gregory
Violet Graf
John Gregor
Janice Greig
Richard Hagstrom
Annette Hall
Nancy Halpern
Kathryn Hammond
Seymour Handler
Victor & Judith Hanks
Janet Hansen
Laura & Jeffrey Hanson
Betty Havens
Keithen Hayenga
Shannon Hebner
Pamela Heinecke
Michael Hocks
Julie Holmen
Jill Holmes
Barbara Hope
Tanya Hough
Carolyn Howland
Ronald & Kristen Jackson
Gary Jensen
Jason Jewison
Christine Johnson
Michele Johnson
Beth Johnson
Brian Johnson
Kenneth Johnson
Peggy Jones
Mary-Frances Jones
James Juul
Ilya Kaganovich
Raleigh Kaminsky in memory of Gerry Klement
Mary King Jacobson
Martha Kittridge
Joel & Janet Knoepfler
Duwayne Konewko
Jennifer Koontz
John Krawczak
Matthew Kuehn
Nicholas Kukowski
Michael Lamontagna
David Langsdale
Eleanor Lease
Kimberly Lindell
Winifred Lu
Ingrid Lund
Shawn Lyon
Lorraine Maloney
Christine Martin
Sylvia McAlpine
Barbara McClellan
Richard & Barbara McCreary
Jean McCoy
Justin Meagher
Karen Melvin
Larry Mens
Patrick Mersinger
Vicki Mosher
Diane Mundt
Molly Murphy
Jennifer Murray
Diane Niehof
Timothy Novotny
Nancy Olmscheid
Jeanne Olsen
Claire Olson
Janice Oltman-Gibson
Richard Oyen
Irwin Panek
Sally & Tom Patterson
Janet Pelto
Pichey Associates/Real Estate Investments on behalf of Sam Pichey
Todd Pierce
Susan Plimpton
Andrea Popiel
Prudential Foundation on behalf of Bernard Burstein
Donald Rademacher
Gregory Randahl
Russell Reilly
Margaret Reimann
Stephen Remer
Bettimae Richman
Rita Roque
Sherry Rovig
Beverly Rutledge
Thomas Ruwart
Karen Ryan
David Schempp
Deborah Schiller
Betty Schmidt
Norma Schmitt
Joseph Schmitz
Karen Schrupp
Jerry Scott
Lansing Shepard
Lawrence Sholler
Jeanne Silverman
Stangl Construction LLC on behalf of Paul Stangl
Willard Steinberg
Nancy Stelflug
Kathryn Stolp-Smith
Joanne Swanson
Dorris Taylor
Eric Teegarden
The Hartford on behalf of Joel Knoepfler
Kathleen Tope
Terry & Virginia Tranter
Nathan Triplett
Truist on behalf of Graco
Kimberly Turner
Cheryle Valiquette
Daniel Vogtman
Yong Volz
Rachel Wallace
Janet Watchman
Sonia Webb
Linda Weidner
Mary West
Nancy Williams
Alan Zeccardi
Deborah Zimmerman
Chauncey Zuber

Karin L. Larson Fund for Interdisciplinary Education Scholarship
Michael Bergmann
Charles Borowicz
Rebecca Goodwyn
Robert Stine

LearningLife Fund
Kathleen Davoli

Masters of Liberal Studies Program Support
June Kelly
Bill Van Essendelft

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - Lagniappe Fund
Bernard & Barbro Osher Fund - Jewish Community Federation San Francisco

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - Miriam Seltzer Scholarship Fund
Frank Ahmann*
Marjorie Anderson*
Margaret Anderson*
Jannen Beidelman*
Stephen Benson in memory of Ana Tapp & Janet Weiss
Florence Bogle
Gail & Frank Brendemuehl
Beverly Christensen
Ramsis Gobran
Groff Associates*
Howard Guthmann
Brad Heath*
Roger Heegaard*
Karen Heegaard*
Nancy Hereid*
Sandra Hewitt
Marlene Holden*
Sally Jorgensen
Joanne Kendall
Kay Kurtz*
Edward Marks*
Merritt & Betty Marquardt
Merritt Marquardt in memory of Verdell Gipple
Patricia Martinson
Caryl Minnetti*
Diane Mundt*
Daphine Ofsthun*
David & Janet Olfe*
Constance Olson*
Gloria Peck*
Robert & Judy Potts*
Karen Rudeen*
Kent Rudeen*
Evangelyn Sandeen*
Mark Swenson*
Alice Thompson
Dwight Townes*
Jan Traff*
John Wetzel*
John Wheeler*
Anson Williams*
Shirley Zimmerman

* In memory of Richard Rudeen

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Fund

3M Foundation on behalf of Ronald Taber
Valeria Barlau
Donna Barnett
Michael Bosanko
Allan Burdick
Karen Chaussee
Alison Clarke in memory of Richard
Sally Economon
Ann Ellwood
Harlan Finney
Bonita Fisher
General Mills Foundation on behalf of Stanley Hunt
Marie Goblirsch
Shawn Hartfeldt in memory of Will Hartfeldt
Stanley & Eileen Hunt
Sally Jorgensen
Joseph Kuznik
Eva & Robert Launer
Perrin Lilly
Sharon Lovo
Nancy-Dell Lund
Geraldine Mooers
George Morin
Florence Myslajek
Jennet & Greg Silverman
Robert Sorensen
Miriam Stohl
Ron & Margaret Tabar
James Talle in memory of Will Hartfeldt
Renee Tasaka
Barbara Theobald
Parker Trostel
Robert Ulstrom
Rolf & Nolinda Westgard

Radio K (KUOM) Discretionary Fund
3M Foundation Inc on behalf of Rosa Malcka Miller
Rosa Malcka Miller

Rosslyn S. Kleeman Scholarship Fund
Rosslyn Kleeman

Split Rock Arts Program Fund
Malcolm Davy honoring Joyce Lyon and in memory of Cynthia Amendt
Julie Decaen
Yi Ellis
Nancy Halpern
John & Lynn Lawyer
Murcile Naumann
Diane Niehof
John Shepard in memory of Jeanne Shepard
Yoshiko Wada
Kevin Winge

Split Rock Arts Program Participation Fund
Dean Arnold
Martha Baker
Susan Brandeis
David Coates
Julie Decaen
Yi Ellis
Anastasia Faunce
Nancy Fulton
Lynn Glesne
Nancy Halpern
Cynthia Ihlenfeld
Rosemary Kessler
Michael Kramer
Sherry Lee
Chrissie Mahaffy
Kathleen McEathron
Amanda Oberg
Vivien Oja
Anne Parker
Charles Rader
Carol Starkey

Split Rock Arts Program - Charlene Burningham Scholarship Fund
Ann Rucker

Split Rock Arts Program - Elizabeth Talford Scott Scholarship for African-American Artists
Robert Silberman

Split Rock Arts Program - Andrea Gilats Scholarship
Julie Decaen
June Gilats
Andrea Gilats in memory of Sis Fenton
Nancy & Allen Levine
Robert Silberman

Women's Fund for CCE Scholarships
Micaela Massimino
Meadowwood Foundation
Jeanne Olsen

High Notes

For students, the University's diverse curriculum means they can aim for the stars in astronomy or stay well grounded with agriculture...and that's just the "A's." Whatever their ambitions, it is likely the University can help them achieve their goals, just as it did for alumni.

Through the College of Continuing Education, in addition to full degrees, adults also have access to that same University-wide breadth of insight through short courses and events.

This fall will see two new interesting time-traveling twists. One suite of offerings introduces citizens to a Witness to History as local innovators share their firsthand perspectives on decisive moments and movements that have shaped our history. The second lets us turn back the clock in another way. 101 overviews let us revel in those topics we wish we'd explored "the first time around."

Two November events focused on music illustrate the distinction, notably.

Witness to History


"I played in a band and then some stuff happened, then some other stuff. I still play in a band. That pretty much sums it up," says Chris Osgood (shown).

Sure it does.

If by "a band" you mean a group that helped shape the American punk rock genre. And by "some other stuff" you mean working as a record producer, a college instructor and administrator, a director for a nonprofit arts agency, a wine importer, a...

Yeah. Those simple lines do pretty much sum up Osgood, headliner at the November LearningLife "Witness to History" Forum. But there's an awful lot of reading between them you can do to get the full story.

Best known as "the godfather of the Minneapolis music scene," Osgood (along with Dave Ahl and Steve Almaas) founded the punk band The Suicide Commandos in 1975. The band is credited as being one of the first U.S. bands outside of New York to play in the Ramones-style, harder-louder-faster mode that would define the punk genre. He then went on to become a label manager and producer at Twin/Tone Records in Minneapolis (home to bands such as The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Ween, and The Jayhawks).

Osgood's musical career began when he was a preteen. Osgood got turned on to the guitar, teaching himself to play rock and roll and eventually forming a band. "I was playing professionally by the time I was 14. It just clicked for me."

After finishing his college degree (double majoring in psychology and music) in only three years, Osgood, Ahl, and Almaas formed the Commandos. Thirty-five years later, the trio not only continues to play together--they actually still even like each other. "We still jack around like kids when we get together. It also helps that we're a democracy--we all come up with ideas, and we all vote. No one person is in sole control. With three guys, you can never deadlock, never get into a stalemate that breaks up the band," Osgood smiles.

Being in a pioneering band like The Suicide Commandos allowed Osgood to perform with some of the biggest names in music history, including Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and the Ramones. "We did a show with them [the Ramones] at Kelly's pub in Saint Paul, and when we were done, I was like 'wow, you can just kill me now--it doesn't get any better than this.'"

But in many ways, it has. Osgood has also been a tireless advocate for new and emerging artists, having worked at Springboard for the Arts (a nonprofit agency dedicated to helping artists earn a living by pursuing their craft) for nearly two decades, and now serving as the vice president of external affairs for McNally Smith College of Music.

"I'm a helper," he says. "My main role has always been helping people do better, do their best; helping them achieve more. I get a thrill out of seeing people succeed, whether that's working with a band to get them to put out a record that they look back at and say 'yeah, we really did that one right,' or whether it's sitting down with an artist and figuring out how to get them health insurance."

In recognition for his work in the arts community, Springboard created the Osgood Dogood award for transformational leadership in the arts, an honor that touched Osgood deeply. "That was cool. It was definitely a high point for me."

"I'm lucky that I got a little taste of 'the rock star life,' but not so much that it overwhelmed me or consumed everything else. It opened a lot of doors, created opportunities. But I can still go to the grocery store without being mobbed or something crazy like that. I think I've been able to answer that age-old question 'how do I do what I want to do?' I've been really, really fortunate in that way."

Western Music 101: Daniel Freeman


For Western Music 101 instructor Daniel Freeman, music is second nature. "As far back as I can remember, even to early childhood, I loved classical music. I always had a natural affinity for it, and couldn't understand why the other kids didn't like it."

Initially, Freeman wanted to become a concert pianist, and he earned a bachelor's degree in piano performance. He soon realized, however, his interests were multifaceted.

He became interested in the history and culture surrounding the music, as well as the languages of the periods and places that gave birth to it. He quickly realized that music history, or musicology, allowed him the freedom to combine all of his interests.

Freeman specializes in 18th and 19th century music, and has also gained renown as a Czech music scholar. "I had to live in Prague to do my research while it was still communist. It was an extraordinary experience. My dissertation ended up published as a book, and then I published another book, a biography of a neglected Czech composer who was a friend of Mozart."

He has also published numerous articles on the topic, and been interviewed by The New York Times about his work, and is finishing his third book, Mozart in Prague.

Freeman is excited to bring his knowledge to Western Music 101, a one-day, intensive format covering a lot of ground. Participants will receive "an overview of the history of Western music by defining the succession of style periods and introducing the greatest composers."

The course also will highlight some of the unique achievements of Western music, "for example the invention of a notation that has made it possible to preserve its heritage  it's not possible for any other culture to reconstruct the music of past centuries," Freeman continues.

The course is open to individuals with all types of musical backgrounds--and to those with none whatsoever. All that is required is a curiosity about music, and an interest in learning. Western music "is made up of examples of ravishingly beautiful sounds. All that's needed to appreciate them is exposure - which all too few people ever get. I'm happy to do [teach] it. It's a great opportunity."

Upcoming LearningLife Events

LearningLIfe Forum (2010 Theme: "Witness to History")
-November 18: Chris Osgood, "Godfather of the Minneapolis Music Scene"
-December 16: John and Sage Cowles, Twin Cities arts patrons
-January 20: Walter Mondale, Former U.S. vice president
-February 17: Josie Johnson, Civil rights activist
-April 21: George and Sally Pillsbury, with Star Tribune writer Lori Sturdevant
Time: 7 p.m. Cost: $15 per event.

-November 6: Western Music 101 with Daniel Freeman
-December 4: American Politics 101 with Paul Goren, Timothy Johnson, Kathryn Pearson
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost: $101 per event.

Location: Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul campus.
Registration and complete information, availabe online, or call 612 624 4000.

CCECurrent_TamiOachs_Blog212x155.jpgTami Oachs always wanted to make writing a career. But, she says, "I just didn't have the confidence to do it." Now, thanks to a retreat she took last summer through the College of Continuing Education's Split Rock Arts Program, Oachs (shown) has finally found the confidence she needed.

For several years, Oachs had been working on a memoir about the effect of her father's childhood experiences on her family. "At age seven, he was torn from a loving foster family and reunited with a mother he no longer knew. It was devastating," the Faribault woman says.

Oachs wanted to fit her family's complicated dynamics into a narrative, but she wasn't sure how to do it. "I knew where I wanted to go, but I didn't know how to get there," she says.

Then an artist friend who had participated in the Split Rock program showed Oachs a course catalog. She was immediately drawn to "Into the Country of Memoir," a weeklong writers' retreat at the Cloquet Forestry Center led by award-winning writer and form Star Tribune travel editor Catherine Watson. "It was the perfect class at the perfect time," Oachs recalls.

But first Oachs, a single mother of two teenage boys, had to come up with the tuition. Her friend encouraged her to apply for a scholarship, and Oachs received both a Mucke-Roff Scholarship and a scholarship from the Women's Fund for Continuing Education.

During the week in Cloquet, Oachs learned to approach her project by breaking it down into manageable bites. She also learned how to create a narrative that would pull readers in and keep them engaged. "Catherine made the class a safe place for students. Her feedback was constructive and positive," Oachs says. "I get nervous when I have to share personal things with a group, but my classmates were kind, attentive, and incredibly validating."

Oachs and her classmates have kept in touch by e-mail and on Facebook. And they're trying to organize a writers' group for the Minnesota participants. "The Split Rock experience enabled me to join a family of like-minded writers," Oachs says. "It was truly life-changing."

Upcoming Retreats at the Cloquet Forestry Center

Winter Landscape Photography
Craig Blacklock
February 10-13
Create captivating photos in differing conditions of light and snow.

Reinventing Your Future
Jerry Allan
February 10-13
A retreat in applied creativity for those who seek a path that leads to happiness and fulfillment.

Spring retreats run April 7-10 and 14-17

The Ridgedale Library is only a 10-minute drive from Greg Soule's home in Maple Grove. So when Soule (shown), a technology project manager for Hennepin County, decided to earn a Project Management Certificate, it made sense to enroll in courses offered at the library through the College of Continuing Education.

"The courses were taught by the same instructors and were of the same high quality as those offered on campus," Soule says. "The only difference was that I didn't have to drive to St. Paul. I enjoyed being able to take University courses at a convenient time and place, in the relaxing environment of the library."

The College began offering professional development short courses and certificates at the Ridgedale Library in 2008, building on an existing alliance between Hennepin County and the University. According to Linda Halliburton, director of Continuing Professional Education, this initiative embodies the University's mission of outreach and access. It's also congruent with Hennepin County Library's outreach and educational mission. "It's a great fit for us both," Halliburton says.

The course offerings were chosen collaboratively by CCE and library staff. The courses have proven popular: last spring, almost 200 people were enrolled at Ridgedale.

In 2011, the College will expand the program to two more libraries: Maple Grove and Eden Prairie. All courses combine lecture and interactive problem-solving. Instructors are subject matter experts who are both grounded in theory and experienced in practical application.

The courses that Soule took at the Ridgedale Library gave him a solid understanding of fundamentals, process skills, and human relations necessary for successful project management. He was able to put these new tools to work right away on the job. For example, when he needed to partner with the IT department to implement new technologies, Soule was able to negotiate roles and responsibilities by applying what he had learned about organizing projects.

Soule recommends the courses to anyone who manages projects or who wants to prepare for the Project Management Professional certification exam. "I'm more comfortable and confident in working the entire project from start to finish because I have a better understanding of the total process," he says.

Continuing Professional Education at Hennepin County Libraries

Take courses or work toward completing a certificate close to where you live and work.

Ridgedale Library

  • Business Analysis

  • Project Management

  • Human Resource Certification Test Preparation

Maple Grove Library

  • HR Certification Test Prep

Eden Prairie Library

  • Project Management for Engineers and Technical Professionals

  • Career Development Workshops

From the Dean


One of the hallmarks of students' experience with the College of Continuing Education is the assistance they can obtain to find and create programs of study to meet their own unique educational needs. Oftentimes, this requires clarifying their own goals. In this issue we tell the story of one very accomplished career and lifework counselor - Janet Pelto - who has recently been recognized by peers in her field with a prestigious achievement award in career counseling.

When she was interviewed about her life's work for this issue, she mentioned that fresh out of graduate school, and with many opportunities in front of her, she wasn't sure if career counseling was the right path to pursue with her educational psychology degree. She'd thought she might be missing an important prerequisite. "I didn't have all the answers!" she explained.

It turns out, her key to success was about asking good questions and then listening, really listening to the reply.

A passion for helping people take a long look inside and form a vision for their future, then a plan to position themselves for tomorrow's opportunities is a trait Janet shares with so many other dedicated faculty and staff here at the College. It is their hard work that supports our many truly amazing and dedicated students. In this issue alone, we meet:

  • Scholarship recipient, 2010 graduate, and native of Mexico's Yucatán, Satty Flaherty-Echeverria, who packed in up to seven courses per semester in three languages while working as an interpreter.

  • MLB catcher Dan Wilson who returned to school to finish a degree after a dozen years on the field and who embodies the spirit of so many degree completers ready to finish what they started.

  • Mini Antony, a native of India and current resident of Boise, Idaho, who took an online HR course before earning a new job after a six-year hiatus from her career.

  • Tami Oachs, who found the confidence to finish her family memoir after a writing workshop.

My congratulations go to our students and my thanks to all those who support them - staff, faculty, family, friends, and donors. Behind so many success stories lie a few carefully crafted questions and some reflective pauses. It is in those pauses that imaginations are let loose.

My wishes for a beautiful fall filled with opportunities to pause.


Dr. Mary L. Nichols
Dean, College of Continuing Education
University of Minnesota


After a six-year hiatus from her career, Mini Antony was ready to go back to work. Taking the HR Certification Test Prep online course gave her the boost she needed.

Last fall, when Mini Antony enrolled in the online HR Certification Test Prep course offered by the College of Continuing Education, she knew what to expect: high-quality teaching, excellent materials, and timely feedback.

"I had taken a course with the instructor, Larry Morgan, several years before, and I learned a lot," she says. "After that, we stayed in touch, and he became a kind of mentor for me. So I was only too happy to sign up for another course."

As a management consultant in her native India, she had focused on human resources. Then she married, moved to the U.S., had a child, and took a six-year career hiatus. By 2009, she was ready to return to work.

"My previous experience was process-oriented. I was unfamiliar with aspects of American HR practice, such as labor relations, risk and safety, and compliance issues," she says. "The course not only prepared me for the test, but it familiarized me with these areas."

The 12-week course, which is officially endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), prepares students to sit for the internationally recognized Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) exam.

Students interact in a structured virtual environment, and they have the flexibility to log on to the course site at any time of day. Materials include downloadable podcasts and PowerPoint lectures.

Although the test prep course is also offered "on the ground," the online version is popular with students. "Not everyone can attend class in person," says Linda Halliburton, director of Continuing Professional Education. "Only 76 percent of our online students are in Minnesota. The course draws students from all over the country, and about eight percent are overseas. One recent student, for example, was working in Abu Dhabi."

For Mini Antony, who lives in Boise, Idaho, the online option was cost-effective and convenient. "The materials were very well-organized," she says. "And Larry's feedback was very helpful and almost instantaneous--he always replied within 24 hours. Because he's an HR professional with years of experience in the field, he was able to clarify any misunderstandings or confusion."

Both the online and the in-person versions of the HR test prep course also offer students a chance to network and share their real-life work experiences. This was a big plus for the Idahoan, who found her classmates' comments and feedback helpful. "I learned a lot from them," she says.

After finishing the test prep course, she passed the PHR exam in January 2010. The success rate for CCE students is over 90 percent--in fact, every student who took the PHR exam last fall passed. This compares with a national success rate of 60 percent. "Our students feel very qualified to sit for the exam," Halliburton says.

Passing the exam and earning the PHR certification gave Mini Antony the boost she needed to re-enter the workplace. In March 2010, she applied for a job as an HR analyst with the City of Boise. In April, she was hired. "I consider this an achievement considering my long sabbatical from my career. I'm sure that having the certificate helped me get the interview," she says.

Pleased to be working again in the HR field, she's considering earning additional certifications. She's especially interested in the new Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) designation. She may have to wait a bit, however, because CCE doesn't yet offer the GPHR test prep course online. But once it becomes available, she's likely to enroll.

"My experience with the online program has been very satisfying, and I wouldn't hesitate to sign up for another course," she says. "I'd also recommend these courses to other interested professionals.

Continuing Professional Education Online:

Business Analysis Certificate
March 14 - April 22, 2011
Learn to:

  • Identify business needs, and the technical costs and benefits

  • Develop and manage comprehensive solution-based requirements

  • Formulate business specifications to implement technical solutions

  • Bridge the gap between business and IT

  • Use data modeling to analyze and improve business processes

HR Certification Test Prep
March 3 - May 20, 2011

Principles of Systems Engineering
March 14 - May 20, 2011
Learn to:

  • Develop a systems engineering project management process

  • Identify systems engineering technical processes, including stakeholder requirements, functional analysis, architectural design, integration, verification, validation, and total life-cycle considerations

  • Recognize the importance of modeling and simulation

  • Understand systems engineering agreement and organizational processes