As Eastern Arizona College-Payson grows, so grows Northern Arizona University-Payson, one of 28 statewide distance learning programs offered by the Flagstaff-based institution.
NAU works with EAC-Payson and many community colleges around the state in what it calls a "2+2" arrangement, whereby the community college offers the first two years of coursework, with NAU offering the second two years and additional masters programs, according to Dr. Gary Moore, program coordinator for NAU-Payson which is located on the EAC-Payson campus at Highway 260 and Mud Springs Road.
What that means for Rim country residents is that all coursework for four- and five-year degrees in many fields of study can be taken without leaving Payson.
NAU-Payson courses are available through three main vehicles:
IITV NAU-Payson operates an interactive instructional television facility on the EAC-Payson campus. Live classroom feeds are beamed to Payson and other IITV sites around the state. Students use voice-activated microphones to talk to the students and instructors in other classrooms.
Web Classes This spring, 90 Internet classes were offered through NAU-Payson. Most students enjoy the flexibility that Internet classes provide, Moore said.
"They can get on and do their course work at 3 a.m. if they want to," he said.
Live Site Classes NAU-Payson offers traditional classes on the EAC-Payson campus, and at public school sites such as Julia Randall Elementary and Frontier Elementary.
More than 100 students are currently working on four-year degrees at NAU-Payson in areas such as business, elementary education, principalship certification, supervisory certification, parks and recreation management, hotel and restaurant management, dental hygiene, nursing, health promotion, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, history and English.
Masters degree programs are available in educational leadership, elementary education, counseling/human relations, business management, educational technology, and engineering.
A big reason for NAU's growth is that it made a full-time commitment to the Rim country when the new EAC-Payson campus opened.
The bottom line is that Rim country residents can complete a number of degrees right here without having to drive to Flagstaff, Phoenix or Prescott.
"We want to send a message to the Rim country that we're here, we have a lot of programs, and we will work with you if you have a group of six, seven or eight people who want a program or degree offered," Moore said.
Returning students should know, he said, that courses taken 10, 15 or even 20 years ago will still transfer.
"People can simply pick up their education where they left off and finish their degree at home," he said.
For more information, call 474-5147.