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Students keep studying in Owatonna's first Cardinal Stritch class

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Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 4:45 am | Updated: 6:51 pm, Fri Jul 26, 2013.

OWATONNA — For Cardinal Stritch student Tina Nechville, school has not always been a positive and rewarding experience.

At least that’s what she told her supervisor at Bremer Bank in Owatonna when he told her she should consider returning to college for the first time since 1997, when Nechville left the University of Minnesota-Duluth without her degree.

“For a long time, school just never really worked for me. I was a bad student, and I had a hard time taking tests and studying,” Nechville said Thursday night before her Cardinal Stritch class started at Riverland Community College in Owatonna.

Nechville is one of 10 students enrolled in Cardinal Stritch’s first class on the Owatonna campus of Riverland Community College. Last December, Riverland, which also has branches in Austin and Albert Lea, set up a 2-plus-2 program with Cardinal Stritch. Riverland students can get their associate of arts in business or associate of science in business from Riverland and all of the classes would transfer to Cardinal Stritch. For the final two years of the four-year business management program, the classes would be taught in Owatonna by Cardinal Stritch faculty.

Once the required courses are passed, students would receive a four-year degree in business management.

No longer a teenager in Duluth, Nechville, a wife and mother, said she is in a different place in 2013, and she feels confident that she will finish the business management program.

“The timing is very good,” Nechville said. “And it’s the perfect setting. It’s only one night a week, and it’s for adults in the workforce, one class at a time and you’re done in two years. Going back to school was always in the back of my mind. When I saw this structure, I knew it was the right setting.”

Arif Altaf is the Cardinal Stritch instructor teaching the initial class offering, Principles of Self-Management 306. Altaf has taught several night classes for Cardinal Stritch, and he said most students are 30 or older and have years of real-world business experience. Altaf said he was pleasantly surprised when on the first night of class, he said some students were just a few years out of high school.

“What I’m doing is taking the students with a lot of (work) experience and making them the mentors, the go-to people for the younger students,” Altaf said.

There are already 14 students enrolled for the next class, which starts in August. Altaf said 14 is good number.

“I know all of my students. We had a good round of introductions on the first night, and I know about them,” Altaf said. “Once you get over 20 students, it’s tough to have that connection and interaction.”

Altaf said almost every student enrolled in the business management program did so with a promotion in mind. For Federated Insurance Companies employee and Cardinal Stritch student Sharon Kasper, a four-year degree gives her needed job security at Owatonna’s largest employer.

“I want to stay at Federated,” Kasper said. “I want to move up. I want Federated to be my career. That’s my path.”

Each student in the business management program goes to school year round. Each class is six weeks, and Altaf’s Principles of Self-Management class will finish up next month.

“This is great,” said Kasper, who last went to college 17 years ago. “I wanted to finish my degree in business management, but there never is a good time. Eventually I knew I needed to go back to school to continue my career, so I just went for it.”

Reach reporter Derek Sullivan at 444-2372, or follow him on Twitter @OPPSullivan

© 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1 comment:

  • Dee from Stritch Admissions posted at 1:21 pm on Thu, Aug 8, 2013.

    Dee from Stritch Admissions Posts: 1

    I'm so proud of my Stritch students for stepping up and taking positive action toward their goals! These folks will be tomorrow's community leaders very soon!


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