It’s been almost 50 years since Coker was the first college in the Pee Dee to offer degree programs in the evenings to adult learners. Much has changed in those five decades, but an adult learner’s need for unique and nontraditional learning experiences has stayed constant.
We recently conducted focus groups with some of our existing adult degree students, representing all three of our adult degree campuses: Hartsville, Florence, and Marion/Mullins. We gained valuable information about what Coker needs to do to remain competitive in what is quickly becoming a very aggressive market. The insights gained are driving our forward-thinking strategies to offer more flexibility and choices for our students. For example, Coker has introduced two bachelor’s degrees that are now available entirely online: business management and criminology.
In the last few months, Coker signed three new bridge agreements with two-year state technical colleges: Florence-Darlington Technical College in Darlington, Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Conway, and Aiken Technical College in Graniteville. These partnerships allow graduates (in certain programs) from these technical colleges the convenience and seamless transition to our adult degree program, which ensures a timely path to a Coker College bachelor’s degree. In addition to the two new bridge agreements, Coker also has partnerships with Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw and Midlands Technical College in Columbia, as well as several others currently being vetted.
Our goal for Coker’s Adult Degree Program is to continue providing the flexibility, relevant programs, and support our students need to achieve their dreams, as we’re continuously inspired by our students, like James, who says, “the Adult Degree Program allows me the chance to advance my education, while still allowing me to continue being a father, husband, and working a full-time job,” and Dorothy, who says, “what made me really come back after 22 years is that anyone that knows me knows that I have very smart children, and they would ask me, ‘Mama, why didn’t you finish your degree? You’re always pushing us to do better.’ They really inspired me to come back.”