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College of Continuing Education News

From the Dean

College of Continuing Education Dean Mary Nichols.jpg


Life is changing at an amazing pace. Medical breakthroughs, product innovations, new ways to interact with our community - change arrives on the scene almost daily. It is, indeed, an interesting time to be alive. Our inquisitive minds want to keep up on the latest changes, to be a better citizen, a better employee, ultimately to lead a richer life.

For nearly 100 years, the U's College of Continuing Education has empowered Minnesotans looking for the credentials they needed to take them where they dream of going, the professional development that will keep them fresh once they are in their career, and the personal enrichment programs that will help them see their world from new perspectives.

We were excited to showcase the College's programs serving our large numbers of learners for new University of Minnesota President Dr. Eric Kaler and his wife, Karen, during his celebratory Inauguration Week.

The president has set excellence and access among his goals, themes you'll see repeatedly in the work of the College. In the following blog articles alone, we learn how program directors partner with industry and faculty advisory experts to create curriculum in convenient formats. This ranges from:

  • our story on interdisciplinary scholars, to...

  • our new professional master's degrees, represented here by the Master of Biological Science, designed to ready mid-career professionals for leadership positions their Baby Boomer predecessors will pass to good hands, to...

  • the work of dedicated leaders, such as Gene Soderbeck of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, who work with the College to bring to life a conference for their peers, to...

  • the new "Entry Point" College in the Schools offerings made possible when U faculty and high school teachers partner to bring actual U courses onto high school campuses for not only top students but now those in the "academic middle" who gain the confidence to see themselves in College, to...

  • the 318 citizens who joined us one evening early this fall to "sample" the season's intriguing array of short courses offered by faculty and community experts; and the 221 Headliners season subscribers who make an annual commitment to refresh their worldview, among them Ted and Judy Nagel, whom we meet in an article.

Our students never fail to impress me. I look forward during our Centennial year to looking back at their amazing achievements during the last 100 years and looking ahead to building another vibrant century filled with interesting times to be alive and to continue learning.


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

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