UMSL to expand class offerings for nights, weekends, online

BELLERIVE • The University of Missouri-St. Louis is bulking up class offerings during nights, weekends and online.

Except maybe not in that order.

UMSL recently started UMSL NOW — nights, online and weekends — which is an office focused solely on the needs of the many students who operate on non-traditional college schedules.

In many ways, these students are the bread and butter of the largely commuter campus, which is why Provost Kristin Sobolik said leaders wanted to expand course offerings and centralize these programs under a new name that the school will soon market across the region on billboards and radio ads.

“What we hope to see is an influx of students who aren’t choosing UMSL or wouldn’t normally because we haven’t packaged programs (properly) and they don’t know what we have to offer,” Sobolik told the Post-Dispatch.

She announced UMSL NOW in a campuswide email last week. It kicks off in the spring, but advertisements will go up next week to recruit students.

In the meantime, leaders are planning which areas of study and which courses to expand.

Nursing, education, social work and business are among the programs that already offer night and/or weekend options, Sobolik said. There’s room for growth in all of them.

“Students are asking for these things,” she said. “We’re creating a house for the things we’re currently doing and making them easier for our generally adult learning population, while expanding rapidly into that sector as well.”

The average age of a full-time UMSL student is 26.

This new effort fits into a campus-wide entrepreneurial push to find areas where a little bit of investment could bring more revenue.

Sobolik said this initiative won't include hiring new faculty and staff.