Beginning this fall, working adults can complete Walters State’s unique Associate of Applied Science in Clean Energy Technology through the college’s popular College Express format. College Express is an accelerated program designed for busy, working adults.
“College Express gives adult learners the chance to complete an associate’s degree in two years, attending one class a night and taking one class at a time,” explained Cathy Woods, executive director of evening and distance education.
“Clean Energy was added because of the many requests from contractors, power companies and HVAC companies,” Woods said. Those requests came through the program’s advisory board as well as general public inquiries.
Students attend from 5:30-9:30 p.m. one night a week and finish the degree program in two years. Classes are taken in five-week blocks, so students only take one class a week. The program is a cohort, meaning students will start and finish the class together.
Walters State is one of only a few colleges to offer an associate of applied science in the field. Four core focus programs are offered within the degree: electricity, sustainable agriculture, transportation and building technology. College Express will focus on building technology.
Clean Energy becomes the sixth program to be offered under the College Express format, with others being: general studies, teaching, early childhood education, and pre-allied health. Business will also be added this fall.
Walters State’s Clean Energy Program was named an “in demand” future major by a University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission study in 2011. Tom Sewell, dean of technical education at Walters State, said that current students apply their knowledge on family farms and in small and large businesses.
“We know this field is growing. In five years, we know we are not going to have enough graduates for job openings,” Sewell said. He said the College Express format will work well for many technicians and contractors in the area who want to update or expand their skills.
While the program is accelerated, the content will be the same, including the various “hands on” classes that are part of the curriculum. Subjects include general education courses like English composition and speech communications. Classes within the major include clean energy, energy efficiency, conventional energy technologies, clean energy planning and design, electrical circuits, electrical power, geothermal heating technologies, biomass technologies, LEED core concepts, LEED green building design and construction, and sustainable agriculture. The construction core was chosen over others because of the area’s employment outlook.
“This curriculum is the most relevant area for this location. The construction business has seen an economic increase. As the industry continues to recover, people with these new skills will be needed,” Sewell said.
Classes will meet Wednesdays beginning Aug. 15, a week before the regular semester begins at Walters State. New students will first need to be admitted and complete required paperwork prior to the orientation.
Class size is limited. For more information, contact Woods at (423) 585-2661 or Catherine.Woods@ws.edu.
In the picture: Student Andrew Hyslip operates a thermal imaging camera with the assistance of Tom Sewell, dean of technical education at Walters State Community College. The camera is used to measure heat loss when conducting an energy audit.