Volume 18 • Issue 16 | September 09 - 15, 2005

Back to School

Students in Berkeley College’s computer lab.

Business college banks on the Financial District

By Cathy Jedruczek

Berkeley College, a 74-year-old institution specializing in business opened its Extension Center in Lower Manhattan a year ago and the school likes its newest neighborhood.

“We’ve received a good response from current population and we will be looking at a larger enrollment,” said Philip Krebs, Berkeley’s vice president for academic affairs. “We’ve got a good response from administrative personnel. I don’t think I can ask for too much more.”

The new center, located in the heart of Financial District is a miniature version of a college campus where students get one on one attention. The 20,000-square-foot space — the second and third floors of the 12- story building at 130 William St. — features classrooms, seminar and conference facilities, computer labs, library, administrative and faculty offices, and a student lounge. The school did extensive renovations before opening.

“The advantage is that it’s not crowded and everybody knows each other,” said Giovanny Santana, who transferred to Berkeley from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Chelsea and now majors in fashion, marketing and management. “It’s a friendly atmosphere and if you want to use a computer you don’t have to wait.”

John Roche, dean of the School of Professional Development pointed out that the center has four “smart” classrooms” where an instructor has an access to a computer and a projector and hopes that by the end of the year all of the 12 classrooms will have the same technology available. The new facility also has three computer labs with capacity to accommodate 60 students simultaneously. Roche also noted that the center has Atmoix clocks synchronized by a satellite, installed in classrooms and hallways. All clocks show the same exact time, so that there are no excused for tardiness, said Roche.

The new center helped alleviate the space limitations at Berkeley’s growing Midtown location and began to draw students commuting from Brooklyn and Staten Island. “We’ve conducted a student survey and it clearly pointed out to us that that majority of students are coming from Brooklyn, Staten Island and that Lower Manhattan would be the best location [for the new center],” explained Krebs.

To Yasmine Calhoun, the new center meant a much shorter commute. “This one is closer, and it’s easier for me to get to from Jersey City where I live,” said Calhoun who now works as an administrative assistant at the college. Calhoun explained that it would take her three hours by public transportation to get to any of Berkley’s New Jersey campuses.

Students can take up to 80 percent of the credits towards their degree at the center and then transfer to the Midtown campus or another college campus to complete their degrees in General Business, International Business, Accounting, Management, Marketing, and Office System Management. Students also have an option of finishing up their degree online.

Roche says that the majority of Berkeley’s graduates have an internship experience behind their belt, which often leads to a permanent position. Ilene Lumpkin, Berkeley’s spokesperson said the College has a history of being involved in the community and said that there are many companies in the Lower Manhattan that Berkley can partner with. “Representatives will be invited to serve as guest speakers,” Lumpkin added.

Established in 1931, Berkeley maintains six locations in White Plains, Midtown and Lower Manhattan, New York and Paramus, West Paterson and Woodbridge, New Jersey. Berkeley enrolls students from 18 states and 76 foreign countries.


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