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College of Continuing Education News

The library and U: Class is in session -- at the library

Off-campus courses offer professional development opportunities closer to home for some Minnesotans.


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

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