Enrolling in a cohort at Pellissippi State Community College means that students enter college together and finish together as one dynamic group. For two students enrolled in the new Communication Studies cohort, it also means studying abroad together this summer in Scotland.
From June 4 through June 24, Jacob Johnson and Bonnie Walker will take classes for college credit while in Scotland. They do so through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS, based at Pellissippi State, coordinates study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state.
This summer, TnCIS is coordinating 18 different study abroad experiences for Tennessee students. Last year, more than 400 students and 50 faculty members from the state participated in TnCIS’ study abroad programs.
For Johnson, the 21 days in Scotland represent his first journey outside the U.S. A seasoned traveler within the country, Johnson says he looks forward to experiencing a different culture while developing skills such as public speaking. He also likes the “stateside” aspect of cohort studies.
“It’s pretty cool to see the same people in classes,” he said. “You already know people, and everyone can help each other to make sure you get what you need out of class. With Communication Studies, I have lots of options. I can get a job or go on for a four-year degree in business, communications or marketing.”
Walker has previously traveled outside the U.S., but she is equally excited about her study abroad in Scotland. Her career plans include further studies in international affairs, and she hopes to land a job that involves work overseas.
Though her preference is to have a job based in Asia, Walker says that she is open to employment in a wide variety of locales. She, too, likes the cohort aspect of studying at Pellissippi State.
“By being in a cohort, you get to see the same professors on a regular basis,” she said. “That continuity is great, especially if you need help in your studies.”
First offered during the fall 2012 semester, the new Communication Studies cohort is for incoming students planning to enter a communication field such as journalism, mass communication, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, argumentation and debate, or speech writing or performance. The course of study is two years, including summer. Students enrolled in the Communication Studies cohort take 12-16 hours of credit classes during fall and spring semesters.
The summer semester of the Communication Studies cohort consists of 6 credit hours and is centered this summer on study abroad in Scotland. Faculty involved with the program conducted fundraising activities to assist cohort students with the study abroad fees. Those who did not wish to study abroad elected to take the summer classes on campus. The first group of Communication Studies cohort students graduates from Pellissippi State in May 2014.
For some students, a potential roadblock to attending college is the worry that scheduling classes around work, family, and other activities may be difficult and result in additional time spent in pursuing a degree. The cohorts offered by Pellissippi State are designed to take the worry out of students’ plans.
Not only do enrollees have the support of fellow students pursuing the same discipline of study, but they also have a predetermined set of classes mapped out over the course of four or five semesters. Cohort students do not have to be concerned that a required class will be full and, therefore, unavailable to them.
Class sizes for cohorts are limited to allow for more in-depth individual and group instruction. Students chosen to be part of a cohort will have demonstrated the maturity and self-motivation to work well in teams and manage their time effectively.
Other cohorts available at Pellissippi State: Associate of Science General Education Certificate, Associate of Science in Teaching, Culinary Arts and Industrial Maintenance. All of those cohorts are now enrolling students for fall 2013. Cohorts available for spring 2014 include Computer Accounting, Culinary Arts and Management.
Another Communication Studies cohort begins this August, with graduation slated for spring 2015. Upon successful completion, students may earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree in Speech Communication or in Mass Communication. They are then eligible to transfer to any state university as a junior.
Pellissippi State’s fall 2013 application deadline is Aug. 14. Classes begin on Aug. 24.
For additional information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.