Employee Non-Credit Courses: The gift that keeps giving

June 29, 2015

There are a lot of reasons to love working at the University of Richmond. Dedicated people, a free family membership to the Weinstein Center, a beautiful campus, and a top-notch retirement match, just to name a few. But, above all, one of the most popular UR benefits might just be the non-credit tuition remission courses offered every year.

Why are they so popular, you might ask?

They’re free.

Every calendar year, full-time employees and their dependents receive five non-credit courses from the Think Again catalog to use however they like. You can learn how to prep, fillet, blacken (and eat) tilapia at the Culinary Center or your teen child can learn how to prep for the SAT. Other courses include parent/child baking dates or a full-day, week-long summer camp for school-aged children. Kerry Fankhauser, associate dean of Westhampton College and deputy Title IX coordinator, takes advantage of the summer camps for her two daughters. “Just sending the kids to a camp like the one at UR, somewhere as beautiful as UR, would easily cost us anywhere from $400-$600 per week and we’re getting that at no cost. I think it’s a huge add-on to the benefits that UR already gives us.”

There’s variety.

From golf lessons to jewelry making, from cooking classes to photography, from presentational speaking courses to one-on-one closet organization, SPCS has you covered. Some employees use them for professional development, some use them to learn a new skill, or others use them for simply a fun outing out with colleagues or family members. But regardless of how they’re used, one thing remains true – you’ll be able to find something that interests you.

They’re convenient.

Because many of the courses are offered on-campus, they’re also extremely convenient. Faculty and staff are typically easily able to navigate campus without the stress of figuring out where to go, and it also makes it simple to tack a class onto the end of the workday. This holds even more true for kids’ camps in the summer. Kerry adds, “It’s saved us a lot of time because they’re right here, and I’m coming to work anyway. So I take them to camp, I go to work, and I pick them up from camp. It’s huge.”

They build relationships.

No matter what non-credit course you choose, these courses give you an opportunity to build relationships with those around you. Chris Kemp, head of discovery, technology, and publishing in Boatwright Memorial Library, loves how they bring community members and UR employees together. “Folks from the community really seem to want to talk to UR staff about what they do and about the University. We’re all there to learn and experience something together, but at the same time it’s an outreach thing for staff members like me. I work in a back office in the library and usually don’t have that much to do with community folks in general, so it’s a cool experience.”

It’s also a great way to connect with colleagues. Chris continues, “It’s an opportunity to be involved with people you work with in ways that a lot of folks don’t get to be. It’s a life enrichment sort of thing.”