University of Delaware
UD employees attend an education open house sponsored by Professional and Continuing Studies, Human Resources and the University of Delaware Library.

Education open house

UD employees urged to take advantage of education opportunities


1:35 p.m., Jan. 14, 2016--Speaking to a group of fellow University of Delaware employees at an education open house last year, staff members shared highlights and inspiration from their experiences as UD students, and recommended taking advantage of UD’s education benefits.

“I really encourage everyone to do it,” said Allison Crook of UD’s Disability Support Services, who is currently taking UD credit classes using the fee waiver benefit. “The process is not hard.” 

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Now with six classes completed so far, she’s planning to continue. “I have studied at the kitchen table with my daughters – they see me working and studying alongside them, and that is a really great experience.” 

Shyamala Athaide, an applications programmer in UD’s IT-Web Development group, has completed two noncredit programs, in data analytics and business analysis. 

Motivated by a desire to continue building her resume, she encouraged attendees to consider doing the same. “It’s easy to get comfortable in your own job, but the best thing to do is build your resume,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but you also get a lot of satisfaction, if you’re doing something that really interests you.”

Co-sponsored by UD Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS), UD Human Resources and the University of Delaware Library, the fall open house provided an opportunity for UD benefits-eligible employees to learn more about education opportunities available to them at UD, such as enrolling in credit courses or completing a certificate program, as well as programs and workshops provided directly by Human Resources and the UD Library.

Resources and tips included:

  • UD’s ACCESS Center is a free resource to all UD employees as well as members of the community, and provides academic and career advisement to help adult students reach their educational goals. ACCESS adviser Michelle Parnell discussed services that can help UD employees evaluate previous college coursework for transfer of credits, explore career interests, choose classes and navigate UD student processes. Career interest assessments are available at no charge.
  • “You can’t finish until you start.” George Irvine of UD’s Professional and Continuing Studies presented information on professional development certificate programs offered through the department, but also shared his own experiences pursuing a doctorate in public policy. “I learned that you can’t finish until you’ve started. The biggest anxiety was wondering if it was possible to juggle all commitments and responsibilities. It is hard. But it is also rewarding, and it’s a transformative process.”
  • Choose a subject you’ll enjoy. Many prospective adult students may wonder whether they actually have the time to balance work and family responsibilities with academic pursuits. Presenters encouraged attendees to choose their first course based on their own interests or passions, making it that much easier to willingly find the time to study and succeed.
  • Consider a short term program. UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies offers certificate programs and workshops that can be completed in less than a year. UD employees make up nearly 10 percent of certificate program graduates, in subjects like project management, social media and big data analytics. 
  • Make the most of UD-provided courses and workshops. Ellen Lepine, senior training and development specialist, encouraged employees to take advantage of opportunities provided by UD’s Education and Employee Development and ConnectingU learning portal, with offerings ranging from leadership development and workplace effectiveness to IT topics and safety training. Kathy Nerlinger, senior benefits specialist, presented an overview of tuition remission and fee waiver benefits, as well as tuition exchange programs. And Meg Grotti, an assistant head of instructional services in the University of Delaware Library, discussed the variety of workshops offered by the library, in topics ranging from genealogy to multimedia design. 

Learn more about UD education benefits and resources by visiting the following websites.

For those who are interested in starting a course this spring, a certificate program information session is planned for Thursday, Jan. 21, in Wilmington, featuring programs in data analytics, six sigma, project management and social media, among others. Most spring certificate programs begin in early February.

Also, UD’s spring semester for credit classes starts Feb. 8. Interested UD employees should consider make an appointment with the ACCESS Center to help choose courses and navigate the registration process.

For more information about signing up for courses, pursuing a degree, or for academic and career advisement, contact the ACCESS Center at 302-831-7600 or

For additional details about the UD fee waiver benefit, review the UD Benefits Guide or contact Human Resources at 302-831-2171.

Article by Nora Riehl Zelluk

Photos by Evan Krape

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