Guy Ellis

The NEO-Grove campus has been serving the higher education needs of area citizens since 1998 when the classrooms opened their doors for the fall semester. For the upcoming fall ’08 semester the satellite has approximately 350 students enrolled with over 120 of those being classified as full time.

The school has programs designed for traditional students, such as acquiring credit hours while still in high school, and for those people returning to school to advance their career opportunities, such as the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) to RN (Registered Nurse) bridge fast-track.

Vickie Fields is the coordinator of the LPN to RN program. Fields has been with NEO for six years, the last four at the Grove campus.

“This will be the fourth year of the program,” said Fields. “It’s grown tremendously. The first year I had one student graduate and now we have twenty students enrolled in the program.”

One benefit of the program is the way the schedule was designed with working students in mind.

“A lot of times LPN’s have to work on a full time basis so they aren’t always able to go back to school on a full time basis also,” said Fields. “So this program works out very well for a lot of students.”

The program combines online activity with seat time in the lab and classroom.

“It’s a hybrid program,” Fields said. “Students can take their theory assignments all online and they do their skill and clinical lessons on site. Those classes occur twice a week.”

The program takes twelve months to complete with classes starting in July of one calendar year and ending the next July. The popularity of the program is evidenced by the enrollment numbers.

“This class is already full but we sure can work with someone towards next year,” said Fields. “We start in January and go to March taking applications for the next program.

“There is a huge market for nurses,” Fields said. “There is a shortage of them.”

The current class has a unique twist on those before it in that paramedics are now eligible for the program.

“This is the first year we’ve been able to include paramedics,” said Fields. “We have three in the program now.”

Janelle Coleman, of Claremore, and Elissa Phillips, of Chelsea, are students enrolled in the fast track program. After weighing their options with other RN programs the two were happy to choose NEO-Grove.

“The NEO program was more versatile,” said Coleman. “It’s fast and I like that I can do parts of it online.”

“We were accepted at both Rogers State and NEO,” Phillips said. “But the people here made the difference. They made us feel very welcome.”

One of those doing the welcoming is Karen Stout, an administrative assistant who has been with campus since 1999. Stout oversees admissions and coordinates the various educational programs the campus engages into with area secondary schools. These programs can benefit traditional students in that it allows them to earn credits for core college classes while still attending their preparatory school.

“Jay and Vinita High School have an ITV classroom, which is an interactive television course,” said Stout. “It’s a live satellite class and the students can visit with the instructor and communicate in real time. They can ask a question and the teacher can immediately answer them, it’s a completely live broadcast.”

The benefits of the ITV classes speak for themselves but the convenience of the program is novel.

“We have an ITV classroom set up at Jay that has classes offered during the day,” Stout said. “The students can stay at the high school and take their ITV course right there during their regular class periods.”

Composition I and College Algebra are two of the more popular, or at least highest enrolled, classes that ITV offers for the prep schools, according to Stout. All core credit hours earned at the NEO-Grove branch are transferable to any university in the state.

The ITV program is also available to students who have completed their secondary studies. Since the Grove campus opened they have offered many classes via ITV that originated from the main campus in Miami. This semester the Grove branch will be originating ITV broadcasts back to Miami as the satellite campus continues its steady growth.

NEO-Grove will continue to offer traditional day and night classes as well as expanding their popular online course fair.

“The internet classes are some of the first to be filled,” said Stout.

Classes for the new semester are set to begin August 18th. Enrollment will be open through the first week of classes with the add/drop deadline being August 29th.