Beginning in Fall 2018, North Greenville University’s Greer campus will add new professional development opportunities, including seminars and professional certificates consisting of 8-week courses.
Professional development at NGU is designed both for current business professionals, church leaders, and nonprofit workers who want to continue learning new skills and knowledge they need to excel in their positions.
“North Greenville is a Christian institution, and we are not abandoning that in our professional development,” says Dr. Jill Rayburn, the driving force behind NGU’s new professional development opportunities. “As a Christian institution, we want to assist the business community, the church community, and the nonprofit community in training in all of these areas where we have either faculty or business contacts who are not only experts in these fields, but they are also going to teach them from the highest level of integrity.”
Each of the seminars will feature qualified professionals with real-world experience. Enrollment will be limited to 30 participants per event to ensure the same personal attention NGU affords in its full degree programs.
“The advantage of these seminars is how compact they are; business professionals can gain much-needed skills in a very short timeframe and then immediately implement them into their day-to-day work,” Rayburn shares.
In addition to professional development events, the new offerings at NGU also feature university credit certificate (UCC) programs at the undergraduate and graduate level in nine fields: business leadership, business management, church planting and revitalization, discipleship and spiritual formation, foundational theology, human resource professional, instructional leadership, missions, and professional investigations.
These certificate programs offer a “second chance” at higher education for those who may not have finished school but are not ready to commit to a full degree, says Rayburn.
“With our university credit certificate program, it’s a very simple application process. There is no prior transcript. There is no prior reference. There is none of that,” she says. “It is basically, you give us your name, address, phone number, and email and start taking these four classes. Let’s see how you do in these classes, and then you have the opportunity to be judged today on what you can do today versus what you did 15 years ago.”
Rayburn adds that those who do well in the certificate programs — most designed to be completed in less than a year — would have an advantage to getting in to one of NGU’s degree programs afterwards.
But recruiting new students isn’t Rayburn’s primary motivation for the new professional development programs. During her first nine years at NGU as an adjunct instructor, Rayburn says that she became increasingly aware of the “phenomenal people and resources” at NGU.
Rayburn began brainstorming ideas for “pathways to connect” those people and resources to the community and then shared them with her supervisor, Assistant Vice President of NGU Online Dr. Lena Maslennikova. So when Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., stepped in last year as NGU’s new president and cast his vision for more community outreach, Maslennikova knew just the right woman for the job. Rayburn was promoted to her new position as director of Academic Engagement and Outreach last fall.
“Our goal is not to sit back and wait for students to come to us, but to actively go out into our community and find out what the needs are and how North Greenville can provide for those needs,” Rayburn says, revealing both her ambition as a former lawyer and her compassion as a mother of four.
Other needs Rayburn hopes NGU can meet in the future include providing additional church and nonprofit training, as well as workshops for parents of children with special needs.
Upcoming professional development seminars and UCC courses will begin at NGU in Fall 2018. They will be hosted at NGU’s Tim Brashier Campus, located at 405 Lancaster Ave. in Greer, SC.
Learn more at ngu.edu/leadership-and-professional-development.php.
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