New DELO calendar aims to help non-traditional students

Carly Mathews

The Division of Extended Learning and Outreach, or DELO, has developed a new calendar option aimed at appealing to non-traditional and adult students.

DELO is the “outreach arm” of WKU, offering support in academics for non-traditional students. They also lead the winter and summer terms, and help plan partnerships with organizations and businesses outside of WKU.

The calendar is planned to function like the summer and winter term course schedules, with classes running consecutively instead of concurrently. This type of calendar would make it easier for students to take multiple classes during a single semester, without having to attend classes for the full semester.

“This format is a great option for students that may be place bound and time bound, such as our adult learners,” Beth Laves, the associate vice president of DELO, said. “This type of calendar can allow people to go to school year round and can help them make significant progress towards their degrees.”

The calendar will introduce the option for departments and faculty to implement intensive five-week long courses. These classes will primarily be offered online and as hybrid classes — another factor that makes them appealing to adult learners, Laves said.

In the Kentucky Completion Report, it was reported that as of 2013 over 500,000 Kentuckians have attended some college, but have not received a degree. Laves said she hopes this new calendar will help more Kentuckians finish their degrees.

In addition to the calendar changes, changes to Pell Grant distribution is another contributing factor that has Laves hopeful for an increase in the number of earned degrees by non-traditional students.

“Students are now able to receive Pell Grant money year round, instead of on a semester to semester basis,” Laves said. “This can potentially have a huge impact, as this is a type of aid that has never been offered before.”

As of now, the faculty has control over the design of these courses, with DELO merely having “created the mechanism,” Laves said.

“We developed this idea and eventually developed the program, and now it’s up to the faculty to carry it out,” Laves said. “Right now, there’s some interest in the School of Professional Studies, as this is where most of our adult learners are.”

There is also an interest in these types of courses at WKU’s regional campuses, Laves said.

The new calendar will be introduced during the Fall 2018 semester, with the classes being open to all students, not just non-traditional students. Laves said she is hopeful that this new option will help to provide non-traditional students with the support and tools that they need to be successful and to achieve their degrees.

“DELO is all about support, and adult learners need the focused support that these courses offer,” Laves said. “They’ll be able to receive a course schedule that works for them and their schedules with the support and services that they need to be successful.”

Reporter Carly Mathews can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].