April 8, 2010
Enrichment courses offered through continuing education departments at many colleges and universities have long enabled adults to hone their talents and explore their passions. Flower-arranging, jewelry-making, cooking and landscaping can all be fulfilling hobbies. In today’s economy, they could also be viable side businesses or secondary revenue streams.
If you would like to start a small business or add new skills to your toolbox, explore metro Atlanta’s continuing education offerings. The variety will surprise you.
For example, the Continuing Education Department of Kennesaw State University is offering a new course for book lovers, collectors and store owners starting on May 6. Robert B. Williams, former assistant vice president for library systems and senior curator of the Bentley Rare Book Gallery at the Horace W. Sturgis Library at KSU, will offer his expertise to bibliophiles who want to learn.
In a joint venture of Continuing Education at KSU and the Bentley Rare Book Gallery, Williams will teach eight sessions (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays) on his favorite subject — books. Williams has a following of “rock star” proportions, according to Tamara Livingston, executive director of archives, special collections and records management at KSU, which has more than 15,000 first and rare editions in its collection.
“He has groupies,” she said, thanks to the “magical combination” of his deep knowledge and charisma.
The course, Identifying and Collecting Rare Books, includes instruction on evaluating a book’s condition, using online resources for collectors, the difference in book bindings as well as information about illustrations, engravings, manuscripts, maps and music. The cost is $899 for the entire course and $129 for individual sessions. For information, call 770-423-6765 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 770-423-6765 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or go to http://www.kennesaw.edu/coned.
With a little knowledge, you could learn to spot rare and valuable tomes on your bookshelves or at yard sales. You might even find a niche in the book business, selling to collectors through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Schools such as Kennesaw and Emory University have long offered enrichment courses that people take for enjoyment, said Ryan Crowe, marketing manager for Evening at Emory, which is housed in the Emory Center for Lifelong Learning.
“Taking an enrichment course on a subject that interests you can be a stress-reliever in these tough times,” Crowe said. “Lately, we’re also seeing more people take enrichment courses with a purpose and an end goal in mind.”
In the past year Crowe has noticed increased enrollment in Emory’s certificate programs, such as digital photography, grant writing, creative writing and landscape design. He’s also seen more students signing up for preparation courses for the GRE, GMAT and LSAT tests, because they are considering attending graduate school.
“Education is always an investment in yourself, and a certificate or continuing education program is a way to achieve an edge in the marketplace when jobs are scarce,” he said.
While many people may be good with a camera, having a certificate in digital photography lends credibility to resumes for those who switch careers or start a business.
The digital photography certificate requires students to take seven mandatory courses and an online capstone course within an 18-month period.
“The courses range from $180 to $400 each, and there’s open enrollment. You could try any course first to see how you like it before signing on for the full certificate,” Crowe said.
Digital photography skills can lead to careers in photojournalism, portraiture, commercial photography, forensics, and fashion and nature photography.
Continuing education offers flexible scheduling, with many courses offered fully online, such as Kennesaw’s wedding planner and advanced creative writing programs.
Courses are taught by qualified instructors who are often experts in the field.
“You can increase your personal marketability and gain the skills you need without having to enroll in a university for a degree or pay college tuition prices,” Crowe said.