CSU-Pueblo’s Continuing Education Independent Study program offers many courses that are available to students already taking courses on campus.
One graduate student, Jeremy Dasher, said he wishes he had been aware of the program at the beginning of his university career in 2005. “It would have shaved at least one semester, maybe two off my time,” he said.
In May 2010, Dasher received two bachelor’s degrees in engineering from CSU-Pueblo, one with the mechatronics engineering specialization and the other in industrial engineering.
If all continues as planned, Dasher will have a Master of Science in Industrial Systems Engineering by May 2011 and a Master of Business Administration by May 2012.
Dasher said his advice to new students at CSU-Pueblo is to take the first couple of semesters on campus. “Learn what is expected as a student. Learn good study habits,” he said. “Then see what courses pertain. Take a couple on the side in addition to those at the university to free up your schedule or to accelerate your graduation.”
Dasher works full-time as an engineering aide at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. and attends CSU-Pueblo. When he completes his degrees, he said he will get a raise and a new title.
Dasher said this fall he is taking 18 credit hours, half of them through the CE Independent Study program.
This is the first semester Dasher is taking Independent Study courses, because his MBA program advisor Malia Sissom suggested it, he said. The courses are ECON 202 Principles of Microeconomics, MGMT 201 Principles of Management and MKTG 340 Principles Marketing.
Dasher said his other courses are on campus. They are CIS 550 DB Systems, CIS 591 Supply Chain Management and CIS 462 Computer Forensics.
Dasher said he has six months to complete all of the Independent Study courses, which are essentially correspondence courses. He can contact the professors through e-mail or by telephone. He also has access to course information on Blackboard.
Dasher plans to finish the Independent Study courses by December because he needs them as prerequisites for classes he wants to take in the spring, he said.
Dasher explained his approach to completing them, “I set aside Saturdays to do group work on normal classes or to work on the Independent Study courses.”
Dasher said he praised his wife, Melissa and her support and for taking care of their two girls, ages 6 and 11 during the years he has been in school and working full time. “Without Melissa I couldn’t do it,” he said. “If I were a single dad, I couldn’t do it. Schedule wise it is tough with young children, but now they are involved in more activities.”
In 1995, Dasher graduated from Pueblo County High School. He said he took college level courses in English and math at Pueblo Community College that were offered to students at the end of their sophomore year in high school. The school paid the tuition for them and he said he got dual credit for them in the Senior to Sophomore program.
Dasher said he participated in the Senior to Sophomore program because “it comes down to time and money. It’s like being convinced you can kill two birds with one stone.”
Taking the college level courses got him off the high school campus. “It gave me a sense of freedom. It was a liberating experience,” he said.
Although Dasher took a few computer information systems courses at CSU-Pueblo after high school graduation, he said he did not commit to his college career until 2005.
Then, he started CSU-Pueblo classified as a junior, but not all the courses he had taken up to that point counted. “I was really a second year freshman,” he said. Since then he has taken an average of 17 hours per semester, each fall and spring, with a couple of summer semesters. During that time, Dasher said he has taken every class in engineering that CSU-Pueblo offers.
In a year and a half, Dasher said he will complete his university career; that is, unless he decides to go for a doctorate. He said one option for a doctorate is in systems engineering from the CSU-Fort Collins mechanical department.