In 2011, Shayna Pietranton graduated from Western Colorado University with a degree in Graphic Design. During her time at Western as a student, she enjoyed taking Yoga classes through Western’s extended studies program. Now, as an alumnus, Shayna works in Western’s marketing department as a graphic designer and continues to take advantage of Yoga classes through Western’s new extended studies program, the Center for Learning and Innovation.
“I just appreciate having the opportunity to be able to participate in campus-related activities. As a student, I took several extended studies Yoga classes, so it’s great to continue to have that opportunity as an employee,” said Pietranton.
An Ongoing Education
The Center for Learning and Innovation is a program that offers students and community members the opportunity to take classes that extend beyond typical education courses. By partnering with various educational organizations, this program allows people to continue their learning. Designed to help students discover new passions and gain new skills, most of the courses are not in a typical classroom setting, but either online or outdoor experiences.
“In my mind, this program is here to help support our students and our community and to showcase our beautiful and talented faculty,” said Shelley Jansen, director of the program.
Hands-on Learning Experiences
Through the thirty various outdoor courses currently offered by the Center for Learning and Innovation, participants can embark on field expeditions for hands-on learning and earn college credit for their participation. The program also offers leadership training and opportunities to acquire certifications. Jansen said the outdoor courses in the program get more than a thousand applications a year.
Free Course Options
Though the program is offered to anyone, there are certain classes specifically offered to Western staff and alumni for free. One of those classes is the yoga class Pietranton participated in.
“I’ve only been employed by Western for six months, but so far it’s been great. There are tons of benefits to take advantage of, which honestly reminds me a lot of what it was like being a student here,” said Pietranton. “There are abundant opportunities, and you can use those opportunities to your advantage if you have the drive and desire.”
Supporting the Western Community
Jansen said she loves the opportunity to give back to Western’s staff, but wants the program to be reaching as many people as it can.
“When we talk about goals and the future, what we’re really trying to figure out are the needs of both our campus community and our off-campus community, and we want to know how we can be fulfilling those needs,” said Jansen. “In my mind, it’s up to us to make that happen.”
Discover more about the Center for Learning and Innovation at Western.
Author Credit: Kinlee Whitney
Photo Credit: Brandon Marlatt