Page 20 - Access 2021
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 Liberal Arts Degree
Graduates First Cohort
The division of Continuing and Global Education launched a new Liberal Arts degree in cooperation with the College of Arts and Humanities. The first students admitted to the program graduated in May 2021. Here are some of their stories:
“The classes focus on the skills you need in any career: critical thinking, writing, communication, diversity and ethics,” says Dr. Alison Mandaville, associate professor of English and Reconnect academic adviser.
  It’s after 8 o’clock in the evening, her chil- dren are in bed, and Allison Howard sits at the gray desk in her home office. The breeze from an open window flutters the curtains as Howard reads a graphic novel about an investigative Black reporter in the 1930s.
The novel is an assignment in Fresno
  Alison Howard
about perseverance!”
Howard started at Fresno State in 2005, got married the summer before her senior year and moved to Tulare. That meant a longer commute to the university, and then she got a job that conflicted with her class schedule. “I quit school and said I’d come back next year. But the next year never came,” says Howard, who now lives in Clovis.
Then she learned that the new Liberal Arts Degree, also known as “Reconnect,” is a flexible, online program geared to working professionals. It enables former Fresno State students who were close to graduation to complete their degrees while maintain- ing family and work responsibilities. Reconnect started in the fall 2020 semester with 15 students, 11 of whom graduate this spring.
Reconnect students earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts, an interdisciplinary set of courses designed specially for the program, and the only campus in the California State University system to offer a liberal arts degree completion program.
State’s Reconnect degree-completion pro- gram, offered through the division of Continuing and Global Education, which has propelled Howard to the cusp of a major accomplishment. She graduates in May – 12 years after leaving Fresno State four classes shy of earning her degree. “Now I’ll fin- ish what I started,” says Howard, who works as an educational interpreter for deaf and hearing impaired students in the Clovis Unified School District. “What a great way to teach my students
  20 California State University, F R E S N O

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