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20120113_University of Pheonix_OpensMISSION — University of Phoenix (UOP) officially opened their doors to the community yesterday, giving community members a place where they can work face-to-face with UOP personnel to get their bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

UOP is widely known for offering online classes in healthcare, business, criminal justice, arts and sciences, human services, education, psychology and technology. The school will offer some of these programs in a classroom setting at their new campus in located at 4201 S. Shary Rd. just before Military Highway on the second floor.

UOP started in 1976 and has become one of the largest private universities in the country. Students can study at more than 200 locations with online programs available throughout the world. The university holds the same accreditation as other major universities and credits students have from other schools could be applied to their programs.

Mikal Powers, UOP campus director, said the big plus that UOP possesses, is that students can attend school full-time while working a full-time job. Students will still be able to carry discussions and assignments online, but now they have the benefit of doing the same things in person. Students will also be able to attend a classroom setting at least once a week, meet with team members and socialize with other students and alumni at a physical campus.

The classes at the campus will consist of about 15 students.

“It’s going to be a very personalized education,” said Powers.

With a physical campus students can become more engaged in their studies and have resources available to them quicker. The campus has a student resource center, seven classrooms, an on-site computer lab with print, fax and copy service and easy access to faculty and enrollment advisors.

Powers said that classrooms could also be used by non-profits when no classes are in session.

Powers, who is an UOP alumni currently in the process of getting his second masters degree with UOP, has spent eight years working for the university. A Corpus Christi native, Powers said he is happy to be back in South Texas.

Powers said there are over 1,000 current students and alumni in the Rio Grande Valley. The university has over 600,000 alumni and 300,000 current students.

He said that UOP is about innovation. Not only do they have the online and on-site campus tools for students, but there is now an application students can download on their smart phones so they can take the university everywhere they go. The school also offers flexible scheduling, continuous enrollment, and a digital library for students.

The university has 18 certified instructors that will teach at the campus. Growth in the area has shown that healthcare, business and criminal justice industries will continue to grow in the next 10 years. The campus will focus on Bachelor of Science degrees and concentrations in those three areas. More on-campus classes might be added in the future.

Although 70 percent of the students that enroll at UOP are already employed, Powers said, UOP will have career services available through Work Force Solutions.

“We’re helping them get into programs that are going to lead into job opportunities,” he said.

The university will not only be helping students gain a degree, but will also be helping organizations and school districts in the community. The school is already talking with McAllen Boys & Girls Club to offer programs through the organization and will be announcing a mobile reading room/literacy program with a local school district soon as well.

For more information on UOP, go to their website at or call 866-766-0766 or 956-519-5800.

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