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Students listen to instructions in a class at the North Dakota State College of Science branch at 1305 19th Ave. N. in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

State College of Science expands foothold in Fargo

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FARGO - North Dakota State College of Science is expanding here and reaching a new group of students.

The college based in Wahpeton has 276 students attending courses in Fargo this fall, a nearly 30 percent increase since last year.


The college's goal is to reach students who aren't being served by another campus in Fargo-Moorhead.

"Many of the students we're serving here are, for whatever reason, not able to access or don't desire the typical college experience," said Harvey Link, vice president for academic and student affairs.

Most students take classes at the Skills & Technology Training Center on 19th Avenue North, a building once shared with North Dakota State University but now a NDSCS facility.

The college was a good fit for Crystal Pazdernik of Fargo, who decided to go back to school at age 25.

As a native of Breckenridge, Minn., Pazdernik was familiar with NDSCS and considered moving home to attend the main campus.

But now that NDSCS offers a liberal studies program in Fargo, Pazdernik is able to earn a two-year degree from NDSCS without moving.

"I like it here," said Pazdernik, who is in her second year at NDSCS-Fargo. "It's so small; you know everybody."

The liberal arts program, which NDSCS began offering in Fargo in 2010, is now the largest program in Fargo with 121 students.

NDSCS launched a new program this fall geared toward working adults called the Business Pro Series.

It's a series of "hybrid" courses that combine one night class per month with online courses. Students can earn certificates in the areas of sales, management/supervision, entrepreneurship and finance.

They can either earn a certificate individually or complete all four and earn an associate's degree in about two years.

Thirteen students are enrolled in the first course this fall. More are expected to sign up when the next course starts this month.

Ken Kompelien, dean of the arts, science and business division, said this format works well for an adult learner with a busy work and family schedule.

"They can still live their life and attend class the one night," Kompelien said.

In the future, NDSCS may offer other types of courses in the same format, Link said.

NDSCS is also committed to providing student support services, such as financial aid and counseling, to students at the Fargo campus, Kompelien said.

The Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College has not noticed an impact with the increased presence of NDSCS, said Trish Schrom, academic dean at MSCTC.

The new NDSCS programs reinforce the need for alternative formats that community colleges can offer, Schrom said.

"There's a need for flexibility in delivery options," Schrom said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590