New Accelerated Business Program Graduates Students Faster

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By Bronson Peshlakai
A hidden gem at Cuyahoga Community College has students graduating with a degree in less time, complimentary dinner before class, paid parking and having class in a state-of-the-art historic building downtown Cleveland – and there’s room for more students.

The accelerated business management program held at the Tri-C Hospitality Center at Public Square is an intense sequence of courses where students attend classes that usually take 16 weeks to complete in just over five weeks. To achieve an Associates Degree in Business Management in only four terms is less time than the traditional format, but students in the accelerated program must be disciplined to read three to four chapters a week, and complete assignments and exams to stay on-time with the class.

“It’s a condensed format for those that are mature enough to be in the process,” said Johnie Reed, a Tri-C business professor who teaches a few accelerated courses. “The format engages students actively each week. It gives them a better, a more intense view of what the course work is all about, and they are able to matriculate in a fashion that is really conducive to their success.”

The added perks of being a part of the program centrally located at Cleveland’s Public Square, in the renovated historic May Company Building, is free parking for students, and a chance to be the guinea pigs, so to speak, for the culinary arts student programs at the hospitality center.

“We take advantage of the hospitality center, combining both facilities to learn, and providing a meal for the students,” said Scott Halm, business program manager at Tri-C. “It’s a great opportunity for the culinary arts program, and another audience for them to try some of their latest creations out, and to experiment that way. So, it’s a win-win situation for the college and the students.”

Tri-C Metro Campus President Michael Schoop highlighted the accelerated business program to the college board of trustees at a January meeting. He said the audience this program strives to reach are students who may have taken college courses before, but never attained a degree. The program is a convenient option to finish an associates degree faster.

“The particular audience we are reaching out to with this program are folks who are working full-time in downtown,” Schoop said. “In addition to being a part of our strategic plan, it’s really part of our core mission that we want to serve as wide array of people that we can in Cuyahoga County, and this is a fairly innovative way to do that.”

First term student Mike Schmida said being a part of of the accelerated business program is convenient for his schedule and that the style of learning is aligned with how he learns best.

“It’s a lot better; it’s more one-on-one, there’s more group discussions, and everybody knows each other, so it’s a lot more comfortable,” Schmida said, whose taking Introduction to Business this term. “I definitely like it more than an auditorium full of 100 or 200 students. I definitely recommend it for somebody who is short on time, and who is definitely interested in a hands-on approach to learning business.”

Halm said scheduling the courses each term is challenging because of students entering the program at different times, but flexibility in registering for courses makes it easy for students to mix and match courses. Except for about eight online only courses, the classes at the hospitality center usually meet Tuesday or Thursday at 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. – which always begin with supper.

“I’m really impressed with the facility, our professor and my classmates, and that they give us a good variety of healthy foods,” Schmida said.

More information about the program and its course sequence can be found at Visit for a podcast edition of this story.

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