A Coon Rapids-based religious two-year college program is setting its sights on a new location in Brooklyn Center.
Virtues Campus, a liberal arts program affiliated with Waldorf College, is a fully-accredited, Christian-centered postsecondary educational institution with live campuses located at local churches during the day Monday to Friday. The first campus is located in Coon Rapids, with two more set to open later this year. Brooklyn Center’s Lutheran Church of the Master will be one such location.
“Virtues Campus is a new and innovative approach to higher education, which provides an affordable, fully-accredited college degree as students gather on a local church campus while they take online courses with a partnership university,” said the Rev. Dr. Dave Glesne, who also serves as president for Virtues, Inc. “On that local church campus, they’re mentored and guided by an academic pastor with a cohort of 15 to 25 students. For the two years they’re with us, they’re under the mentorship of the academic pastor that guides them, encourages them, prays for them, counsels them, puts a biblical worldview around their education, helps them on their career pathway.”
Virtues combines online classes with live classes at the campus, where students meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for three modules to be taught by their academic pastor.
“They can have individualized attention and someone who can really take a personal interest in them as individuals,” said Glesne. “I think that mentoring is the distinctive part. We really stress on one of the three modules that the students study, called a ‘Career Readiness Module.’ We really want to work with each student to find out who they are, what are some possible career pathways and help them to really define a clear college pathway during those two years with us.”
The academic pastor would have a close, hands-on approach with students, and the Brooklyn Center campus will have Julie Marxhausen serve as its academic pastor.
“We’re in the process of writing grants to set up a classroom with a lounge,” said Marxhausen. “This is something that fits into our vision of how we can reach out to our community, which has changed so dramatically.”
Marxhausen said that she’s currently putting together a task force of both church and community members to raise awareness for the campus and to attract potential new students.
“I also help them with their online classes that they might need help with,” said Marxhausen. “And the ‘pastor’ part is walking alongside of them, mentoring them, helping them with career readiness, working with them putting together portfolios for jobs.”
The tuition would be kept under $10,000 per year to maintain affordability, and each class would range from 15-25 students.
“The time is right for this kind of a new, innovative concept,” said Glesne. “All across the United States, there are church facilities that are underutilized Monday through Friday, so we’re taking advantage and stepping into facilities that are already exist, so that brings the overhead down. This will be a way to keep (students) more closely connected with the local church.”
For more information on Virtues Campus, visit virtuescampus.com.
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