Get Back To Class 

This fall, try something new, like belly dancing, cake decorating or Asian design

Are you feeling nostalgic for that recurring nightmare in which you show up for an exam with just 15 minutes left, with the wrong textbook and with no clothes on?
Are you feeling nostalgic for that recurring nightmare in which you show up for an exam with just 15 minutes left, with the wrong textbook and with no clothes on? Or maybe the passing of Labor Day just has you missing the glory days of school? Well, sharpen up your No. 2 pencils and keep your pants on. Whether you’re looking to sip wine while you learn about amateur art criticism or chew the end of your pen while you brush up on medical billing rules, there is ample opportunity for curious students to continue their educations without interrupting their careers. Several colleges and universities offer complete bachelor’s degrees for working adults, while public and private secondary schools offer hundreds of classes and workshops on everything from quilting to eBay. Below is a list of some of the best places in town for adult students to earn a degree, pad a résumé, acquire a skill or start a hobby. Some courses are already in full swing, but it’s never too early to plan for next semester. Belmont University College: At Belmont’s University College, working adults can earn a bachelor’s degree in business, nursing or ministry. The ministry program, new this year, equips students for various types of church work but not necessarily ordained ministry. The University College offers 4- and 8-week night classes as well as online courses that allow students to work at their own pace. Degree-seeking adults can take classes at Belmont’s new Cool Springs campus, but the university does not guarantee that students will be able to complete an entire degree program in Williamson County. To learn more, see Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art: Cheekwood offers a variety of 8-week classes and one-session workshops for artists of all skill levels. Skilled artists show students basic techniques for working in clay, charcoal, oil and other media. On Sept. 22 and 29 from 6-8 p.m., Cheekwood’s gardeners will reveal some of their tricks, while participants nibble hors d’oeuvres and sip wine. Families may be interested in learning about Mexico’s El Dia de los Muertos celebration (“Day of the Dead”) on Oct. 22 where they can create their own El Dia-style art piece. To learn more, visit David Lipscomb University Accelerated Adult Degree Program: Lipscomb’s adult studies program allows students to complete a semester-long course in eight weeks, while attending class twice a week. Adult students attending part-time can earn 30 credit hours toward a business degree in an academic year. Lipscomb’s Accelerated Degree Program offers six business-related majors (including accounting, management and marketing) and an applied-ethics minor, which satisfies the university’s Bible requirement and relates theories of ethics to practices in the business world. For more details, see Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools: Whether or not you voted for the mayor’s sales-tax hike to increase funding for Metro schools, you can enroll in Metro’s many diverse courses, from CPR to Feng Shui to cake decorating. Belly dancing at Antioch High School, for example, promises to tone and shape the body, while other programs aim to improve scrapbooking skills, babysitting techniques or personal safety habits. Metro offers weekly classes in the arts, home and garden, business and foreign languages. Among the more interesting offerings are “Found Object Sculpture” and “Introduction to Raising Orchids.” Classes vary in length and cost. Visit Metro Parks: The Cultural Arts program at the parks offers a range of classes in dance, theater, music and visual arts. Held throughout Metro, at community centers, Two Rivers Mansion and Centennial Park, classes run throughout the day, and many are free. Visual arts courses include pottery, quilting, ceramics, painting and drawing. Budding performers and wannabes might enjoy “Overcoming Stage Fright” or “Singing Workshop.” Private instruction in music and voice is available. Dancing programs include belly dancing, Mexican folk dance, ballet and hip-hop. Auditions are required for advanced acting classes and jam band. For more information, visit Montgomery Bell Academy Evening School: “Do you have eBay envy when people talk about the deals they find online?” asks MBA’s Evening School catalog, in which “Introduction to eBay” is one of dozens of adult classes offered at the Harding Road campus. This fall, MBA will also be offering an advanced course in Mediterranean cuisine taught by gourmet chef Malcolm Morrison, and swimming instruction taught by the school’s head swim coach, Grey Carter. Fall classes are offered throughout October and November and vary in cost. Visit to learn more.Nashville Public Library: The Main Library on Church Street provides a handful of free classes on computer basics. Subjects include learning to use a mouse and keyboard as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Classes are limited to 30 students on a first-come, first-serve basis. See for information. Nashville State Community College: Nashville State offers 11 two-semester certification programs for adults looking to acquire additional skills and enhance their résumés. Career advancement certificates include “Medical Coding,” “Legal Issues in the Workplace” and “Management Basics.” Semester-long courses in subjects from photography to horticulture to floral design begin in January. Special interest courses and evening workshops in the community education program run throughout the year. Check out “Instant Piano for Hopelessly Busy People” on Oct. 31, 6-9:30 p.m., “Beginner’s Guide to Getting Published,” Nov. 7, 4-6:15 p.m. or “How to Cash In With a Successful Home-based Business,” Nov. 7, 6:30-9 p.m. For more information, visit Trevecca Nazarene University: Trevecca’s degree-completion program in management and human relations allows adults 23 or older with at least 60 hours of college credit to finish their degrees by meeting one night a week. Classes meet at one of six campuses in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. For information, visit or e-mail University School of Nashville: USN’s evening classes, which cost $50 or less, kick in January through April, so plan ahead for curricula like “Looking for Love Online,” “Vegetarian Desserts” and “Storytelling for the Silver Screen,” which were offered last year. Courses change each year, but the popular “You Gotta Know When to ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ ” course is slated for 2006. Most classes meet at USN, but some meet in restaurants or homes. USN also offers tours of area landmarks and historic sites. Registration for 2006 classes begins in early January. Learn more at Vanderbilt MLAS: Vanderbilt’s Master of Liberal Arts and Science degree program offers graduate-level courses for adults who seek to measure great ideas and enduring questions against their own life experience. The 27 credit hours required for the degree can be spread over six years. (That works out to one 3-hour course in each of nine semesters with three semesters and summers off.) Much  coursework is specific to the MLAS program, and current or emeritus faculty teach all classes. Tuition is one-half the regular graduate tuition. Visit Viking Culinary Arts Center: Near downtown Franklin, the Viking Culinary Arts Center hosts 2- and 3-hour cooking workshops almost daily. Frequent entertainers might benefit from the Oct. 1 “Chocolate Workshop” or the “Big Easy Hors D’Oeuvres” demonstration on Oct. 11. Amateur chefs can increase their repertoires with the “Moroccan Feast” workshop, which highlights the recent North African trend among foodies. Additional information is available at Watkins College of Art & Design: Take a trip to the wooded hills of Tracy City, Tenn., and learn the art of glass blowing. Or stay on campus and learn faux finishing from a Watkins-educated interior designer. Watkins is also partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank to offer cooking classes, with proceeds to benefit Second Harvest. On Nov. 8, Watkins offers an Intro to Astrology workshop. Visit


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