ESU opens new learning center in Bethlehem

Posted: 2:58 PM EDT Aug 17, 2012   Updated: 5:35 PM EDT Aug 17, 2012

Downtown Bethlehem has a new tenant, but this one's not for folks on the hunt for a burger or a bargain.

"We're just thrilled to be here in Bethlehem," said Marcia Welsh, president of East Stroudsburg University.

The Monroe County-based school has opened an extended learning center at 60 West Broad St. It caters to college students who may not fit the traditional "higher education" mold. The goal is putting the finish line in sight for busy adults who want a bachelor's degree, but aren't quite sure how to get it.

"Oftentimes students finish a community college degree program and are left without other options," said Welsh.

Credits earned from other institutions and programs are easily transferred to ESU’s newest hub, officials said.

"We really are trying to partner with our community colleges who provide the first two years of college and higher education, and we're going to be down here with the last two years," said Jennifer Serowick, ESU's director of extended learning.

Right now, the learning center offers three undergraduate degree completion programs: one in public health, one in hotel, restaurant and tourism management, and one in computer security.

A graduate degree program in reading with reading specialist certification will also be launched in January. Look for the course list to grow with enrollment, officials said.

And students aren't the only ones lucking out here.

"The benefit for East Stroudsburg is you get to educate folks in the most beautiful downtown in all of Pennsylvania," said Mayor John Callahan, D-Bethlehem, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new center on Friday.

Classes begin in October.