Goddard College to start four-year program in Port Townsend
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Goddard College, which is starting an undergraduate degree program in Jefferson County, will mark the launch of three local bachelor’s degrees with an informal open house Sunday at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. Getting ready for the open house are, from left, Goddard student Nicole Pursun, college director Erin Fristad and alumna Jane Ansley.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Education options in East Jefferson County will expand into new territory this fall when Goddard College begins a four-year undergraduate degree program at its Fort Worden State Park campus.

The college will host an open house from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the park's USO building, where teachers, administrators, students and alumni will be available to answer questions about the new program.

“This is the only opportunity for students to get a four-year undergraduate degree in Jefferson County that is not an online-only option,” said Erin Fristad, director of the college's Port Townsend residency site.

“Face-time is very important, especially in rural areas, where students can feel even more isolated in an online program,” Fristad said.

Goddard, which also has a campus in Plainfield, Vt., is not a conventional college, and its local degree program reflects this.

Students don't spend the entire year in class.

Rather, they come to the campus for two eight-day residency periods a year, with the remainder of the instruction accomplished through an online process that requires assignments to be completed every three weeks.

Degrees offered

Degrees are offered in three fields: sustainability, health arts and sciences, and individualized studies.

They are scheduled to take four years to complete, though students can take more or less time to finish.

Goddard, which also has a campus in Seattle, specializes in adult learning that incorporates itself into the lives of people who already are working and uses a flexible educational model.

Fristad said the college accepts up to 75 transfer credits of a possible 120 for its degree programs and allows students to receive credit for life experience.

They also design their degree program and class content.

“You might have an interest in music and have a required math credit, so you would design a class that would include material about how math formulas are an essential part of music,” Fristad said.

Goddard has a partnership with Peninsula College, which operates a branch on the Fort Worden campus, and encourages students to take basic classes at Peninsula College because of the expense and because basic college classes teach the same material.

Peninsula College offers a four-year degree program in applied management, but the physical classes are conducted in Port Angeles.

Building 202

Both colleges operate out of an older building at Fort Worden and plan to move into a new location, the now-empty Building 202, once it is renovated and turned into an academic building.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin later this year, with completion slated for 2014.

Fristad said Sunday's event will be “open and informal” without a lot of structure, though it will feature a panel discussion from about 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The panel's topic is “Transforming Perspectives: Voices from the Goddard Experience,” featuring current students and faculty.

Members of the panel include a current student, Nicole Pursun, and alumni Jane Ansley, a Port Townsend resident who earned a degree at Goddard's Vermont campus in 1951.

No Discover Pass is required for the event. Attendees are asked to go to the USO building to get temporary parking passes.

For more information, visit www.goddard.edu.

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 12. 2012 5:43PM
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