UCSM is the only nonprofit higher education organization of its kind in the nation. It’s a community perk Wilson says she hopes more locals will take advantage of, explaining that through funding from other regional charitable organizations USCM is able to offer higher education classes at a fraction of the cost of other college and university programs.
“What it breaks down to is $8-$12 dollars an hour to take a class with us,” Wilson says. “Compared to Mesa State, that’s about one-third the cost.”
UCSM is in fact partnering with Mesa State College to offer three college credit classes, which can also be audited through UCSM if no college credit is necessary. English Composition I is the prerequisite for English Composition II, and will assist anyone who wants to sharpen their writing skills. English Literature will cover a variety of genres and time periods. Both classes are taught by Emily Shoff, MA. These classes will meet on Thursday evenings in Telluride starting Sept. 11.
Principles of Marketing is a 15-week class if taken for three credits through Mesa State, or it can be audited for eight weeks through UCSM.
“The business community is a large supporter of UCSM and we strive to offer classes that will be beneficial to them and their employees,” Wilson explains of this class, which will be taught by Mark Dollard, MS. Dollard brings a range of experience to the front of the classroom, from working with a multinational corporation to small, local businesses. Principles of Marketing will combine researched knowledge on consumer behaviors with real-world projects. This creates an opportunity for businesses to meet immediate marketing needs while sending employees to the class. It will meet on Tuesday evenings starting Sept. 9.
Continuing education classes include Spanish Communications IA, IB and IC in Telluride, and Spanish IA and IIA in Naturita. These all begin during the second and third week of September. In October, Spanish IIA will begin in Telluride. This is a new class that includes an “Intercambio” session that will partner with One Telluride to bring English language learners together with Spanish language learners.
Microsoft Windows, Word and Excel, and the new class in the Global Issues Seminar: The Food Crisis will also begin in October.
Wilson, who took the helm at UCSM in June, boasts a master’s degree in bilingual and multicultural education as well a bachelor of arts degree in sustainable communities from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She was a member of the Peace Corps, working in El Salvador, from 2000-2002, after which she returned to Flagstaff and helped found the Flagstaff New Day Peace Center.
She reports that UCSM’s enrollment numbers have increased annually, and she expects to see more new enrollees this semester. She adds that UCSM is also looking for more accredited teachers to instruct new classes. For more information about UCSM’s programs, which also include the Pathways to College program which provides career and academic advising as well as financial aid information to potential students, or to register for classes, visit the website www.ucsanmiguel.org, call 970/369-5255 or stop into the office located in the historic Telluride Times Building at 224 E. Colorado Ave. Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. or by appointment. UCSM is supported by TMVOA, Town of Mountain Village, CCAASE, Telluride Foundation, San Miguel County, and Just for Kids Foundation.