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Newly relocated Adult Basic Education program opens

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As soon as President Bob Knight concluded his annual State of the College address, many audience members grabbed their coats and hurried out of Gaiser Student Center—not because they were eager to leave, but because they wanted to see the new location of Adult Basic Education/English as a Second Language.

Director of Career and Employment Services Edie Blakley takes a tour of the Pathways Learning Center.

Director of Career and Employment Services Edie Blakley takes a tour of the Pathways Learning Center.

These programs, which were housed at Town Plaza for five years, moved to the Roy and Virginia Andersen Educational Complex—also known as the T Building—at the end of last year.

The new facilities have many advantages over the old Town Plaza location: more windows, better temperature regulation, updated classroom technology. But perhaps the biggest improvement is the location itself, just across Fort Vancouver Way from Clark College’s main campus. This allows students easy access to college services like the Career Center and Cannell Library, as well as the chance to participate in student life.

“Students from day one are operating as college students,” said director of Basic Education Larry Ruddell as he greeted visitors at the open house.

Workforce Pathways Program Manager Tiffany Williams pointed out that it wasn’t just students who benefited from access to the main campus; she and her colleagues were now able to easily take advantage of staff- and faculty-development events that previously required a car trip for Town Plaza employees.

Foundation President Lisa Gibert, right, poses with students.

Foundation President Lisa Gibert, right, poses with students.

Williams gave tours of the new Pathways Learning Center, which was markedly different from its Town Plaza days. There, 15 computers were arranged at tables facing the walls, making it difficult to group teach computer skills; now, 24 computers are arranged atop rows of desks in a traditional classroom layout, with a space for an instructor and a pull-down screen at the front of a room that is filled with natural light. Staff and faculty can teach classes on everything from computer-based job searches to introductory web design.

“We’ve already started serving more students,” said Williams. “At our old location, we would average five to seven students in our classes; just this week, we had 14. When we get here in the morning to open the door, there are already students waiting to get in.”

Nearly 1,400 students took basic education classes at Clark College during the 2012 fall quarter. Ruddell said students have adjusted well to the move, with few having trouble finding their way to the new location. “We prepared them so thoroughly that on the first day of [winter quarter] classes, we were getting more lost students from the main campus than we were from our own student population.”

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