• Cohort

    Understanding the Cohort Model at CCU

    To create a more enriching environment for adult learners, CCU's College of Adult and Graduate Studies offers a cohort model of learning. Under this model, you join a group of students and journey together through your degree or certificate program. Your courses are offered one at a time in a pre-determined sequence, up until completion.

    Cohorts offer a stimulating and intellectually challenging environment, while promoting a sense of community. Research shows that students who participate in cohort groups have higher graduation rates, a greater sense of community with their peers, and the ability to better plan their degrees, due to the structured order of courses.

    The cohort model of learning has long been embraced within the Christian tradition. We see examples in the New Testament of believers gathering in communal settings for the purpose of study and fellowship (Acts 2). The writer of the Book of Hebrews encouraged this spirit of collaboration (Hebrews 10).

    Just as Christians continue to meet for small-group Bible study, cohorts are a beneficial learning model in higher education as well. Cohort groups create an atmosphere of trust and intimacy among scholars, so they can journey together productively in the pursuit of knowledge.

    Why Choose Cohort-Based Education

    When we ask our graduates what they most valued about their cohort experience, they share a range of responses:

    • A strong sense of community. When you share in your academic journey with the same students for more than a year, you build a strong level of trust, communication and camaraderie with your peers. You create meaningful connections with fellow adults who can relate to the daily realities of managing a family, career, aging parents, and other circumstances of adult life.
    • Exposure to diverse perspectives. A cohort encourages learning and growth from your peers, as well as your professors. CCU's adult students tend to have extensive life experience. They're accomplished professionals from many backgrounds. The cohort model gives you ongoing exposure to learned people who have diverse perspectives. As a result, you develop a more strategic, well-rounded mindset and an appreciation for life-long learning.
    • Spiritual growth. At CCU, cohorts create opportunities for spiritual fellowship and growth. Cohort groups engage in ethics-based discussion that integrates faith and a Biblical worldview.
    • Greater chance of graduating. As you build relationships with members of your cohort, your peers offer a high level of encouragement. Their support can keep you on track towards your dream of graduation, even during difficult personal circumstances.
    • A personal and professional network. Because a cohort group shares many experiences together through a series of courses, you're likely to build life-long bonds with your peers — from personal friendships to professional networks and connections.
    • Practical experience and collaboration. In recent years, more and more organizations have evolved from a top-down, knowledge sharing structure to one in which everyone in an organization shares his or her knowledge to build competitive advantage. When you participate in a cohort, you learn how to interact, build relationships, and find the best in people who may offer different perspectives than your own.
    • Guaranteed courses. Under CCU's cohort model, there's a master plan for the sequence of courses you'll take, so you're ensured a well-rounded education. As long as you stay on track with your cohort group, you have the peace of mind that your next course will always be available. (In an open enrollment model, courses may not be offered when you need them or they may be full.)

    How Cohorts Work at CCU

    As an adult undergraduate student, your cohort usually begins after you have fulfilled your general education and elective credits. (The timing can vary slightly by program.) Your cohort runs from the beginning of your "core course" curriculum through the end. Typically, these are the 300 to 400 level courses you take for your major.

    If you are a graduate student or you're pursuing a nursing or education degree, your cohort begins immediately upon starting your program.

    The cohort model applies to both in-seat and online classes. Taken one at a time, your cohort courses typically run five weeks for undergraduates or seven weeks for graduate students, with a few exceptions.

    The goal of a cohort is to start and end your sequence of courses together as a community. If, for some reason, you have to miss a course, your advisor can help you work through your situation and figure out whether you can rejoin your cohort. If you miss a number of courses, you'll likely need to join a new cohort to resume your educational sequence. Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis, keeping your best interests — and those of your cohort — in mind.

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