**For Immediate Release**
Guymon Classroom Serves Community
- released by OPSU Campus Communications on 04-11-07
by Laura Hays
Goodwell, Okla. — Over a year ago, members of the Education Committee of the Guymon Chamber of Commerce imagined a facility located in Guymon that would allow access to higher education to working adults, business professionals, and other students interested in pursuing more education. Committee members expanded the idea, and located a facility, and discussed what type of courses should be offered. Oklahoma Panhandle State University opened the Guymon Classroom at Fifth and Roosevelt one year later.
Since that time, over 200 students ranging in age from 17 to 86 years old have taken advantage of credit and adult education classes and workshops offered in the classroom. Learners encompass a cross section of the community including business professionals honing their skills in the use of popular software; traditional college students who prefer to take classes closer to home; retirees learning how to use the internet; and working firefighters and emergency medical personnel interested in advancing their careers through further education.
According to Consuelo Luera, Director of OPSU’s Adult and Continuing Education department who oversees the facility, “The classroom appeals to many agencies and organizations as a location for workshops, short courses, and training. Because we have the technology and equipment readily available, instructors spend less time setting up and more time teaching. In addition, partnering with businesses and organizations allows OPSU to offer certain courses at a reduced rate or free of charge, such as the Workplace Violence Seminar that was held after two violent attacks occurred on Main Street in Guymon.”
OPSU also addresses the economic and workforce development needs of local business through the Guymon Classroom. Members of the Education Committee continue to volunteer their time and meet once per month to assess the needs of the community and make recommendations regarding possible classes and workshops. Committee members include business leaders, educators, and local elected officials.
Dale Lewis served as President of the chamber when the project was started. He said, “I believe that the Guymon Classroom is an important step in bonding OPSU and the Guymon community, and opens opportunities to high school and non-traditional students that may not have the time or ability to attend classes on campus.”
Difficulty in recruiting and retaining law enforcement officers in the area troubles every community in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Members of a law enforcement advisory committee have developed a curriculum for an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice. Oklahoma’s Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) has approved it and once the student meets all of the requirements, the graduate simply takes the CLEET test and becomes certified following employment with a law enforcement agency. Pending final approval by the OPSU Curriculum Committee, the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the program will become available in the spring of 2008.
Outgoing Vice Mayor of Guymon Bob Johnson said, “I helped locate possible sites for the Classroom, and was honored to serve on the Committee because I thought it would be a great service to the community.”
One year later, the vision of the committee has become a reality and the Guymon Classroom will continue to change and improve to meet the needs of the community.