Thu11272014

Schools

Golden Gate bridges gap

Since its South Bay inception in 1982, Golden Gate University has offered only evening and Saturday programs for students looking to continue their education in a technical or business-related field. That may change.

Officials at the Los Altos-based campus on El Camino Real are considering expansion to offer day classes as well. The reason, according to Provost John Fyfe, amounts to recognizing a need and trying to fill it.

The school has traditionally geared its off-hour classes to those working full time during the day. But officials see potential students who don't fit that picture. "It's become clear to me that (an increasing number of) people don't have standard work schedules," Fyfe said. "We want to serve people who are home during the day but have different shifts."

Fyfe said the school also hopes day classes attract those who have been out of work for awhile and are looking to educate themselves to return to the work force.

Depending on student input and interest, school officials are looking at offering about 12 management-oriented day classes beginning after Labor Day in September. Fyfe described the courses as "lower-level," offering introductory information.

Class times may become more varied, but the goals of the institution and its theme, "welcome to the real world," won't change. Golden Gate University provides education for students either looking to complete undergraduate degrees or master's programs with this charge, according to president Thomas M. Stauffer: "to prepare students for successful professional careers through programs of exceptional quality that integrate theory with practical experience."

Toward this end, Fyfe said Golden Gate's instructors are full-time employees at local corporations. The subjects they teach are the same they are practicing in the professional environment. As a result, students, Golden Gate officials claim, get a more hands-on experience than they would in a traditional campus setting.

Golden Gate's other niche, according to Fyfe, is scheduling flexibility. "What still sets us apart is that our course and program formats are still based on students selecting the pace of the program," he said.

The school currently offers 34 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, according to Robert Henderson, senior program coordinator. Total South Bay enrollment is about 900 students, with 700 out of the Los Altos location and another 200 at a San Jose site. Golden Gate also has a San Francisco campus.

Fyfe said the average class size is 12. Career fields range from accounting and marketing, to finance, computer information systems and taxation.

The Los Altos center, at 550 El Camino Real, includes 11 classrooms, a library, two computer laboratories and a student lounge.

Golden Gate's origins go back to 1853, when the university first began educating gold miners in gold assaying, was an in-demand technology at the time. The university now has locations in California, Nevada, Washington, Singapore and American Samoa - and on the Internet.

Fyfe said officials at the Los Altos location will hold informational meetings this summer about the day classes before committing to them.

To offer input, for more information, or to register for classes, call 961-3000.

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