By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We have been running the program for three semesters with fewer than 25 students, and that’s not enough for a robust academic community,” said Port Townsend Campus Director Erin Fristad.
“We can’t employ enough faculty with those numbers to offer students the breadth of programming for their degrees.”
Goddard’s program used a residency program process, with students coming to campus for eight days at a time twice a year for four years, with the intervening time used to complete class assignments.
The Port Townsend campus, which is located at Fort Worden State Park as part of the new lifelong learning center, will host the scheduled spring residency program but will shift to Plainfield, Vt., for the fall 2014 semester.
Currently enrolled students will received a one-time $500 travel grant, while new students will be advised of the change before enrolling.
Students will be given the option to attend the residency in Vermont or Port Townsend in the spring.
The college still will offer the two graduate programs that were in place before adding its undergraduate option, a Master of Fine Arts and another in interdisciplinary studies.
“Goddard is consolidating one program in Vermont, but the other two are staying open here,” Fristad said.
“We are open to creating other programs in the future and are definitely interested in creating lifelong learning opportunities,” she added
”We are still very committed to staying in Fort Worden and working with the [lifelong learning center public development authority] and the partners here,”
The decision was made by Goddard senior leadership, which informed Fristad of the decision late last week.
She already has informed all of the students.
“We were all quite shocked by this. We were caught by surprise,” she said.
“We are all trying to figure out what to do.”
Fristad said enrollment numbers are down at colleges throughout the nation, with schools not having the necessary resources for marketing and outreach.
“We had to give it a try, and it is sad to have to end it at this time,” she said of the undergraduate venture.
“But we are not leaving. It is not over for Goddard in Port Townsend.”
For more information, phone 360-344-4100 or visit www.goddard.edu.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.