Community College Promotes Lifelong Learning

The next generation of scientists and engineers use New Mexico Tech as a springboard to their careers. However, the university also offers a wide range of lifelong learning classes that cater to the needs and interests of fulltime students and community members.

The Community College division at New Mexico Tech has an impressive lineup of classes every semester in areas that have nothing to do with science or engineering.

“We really offer a hodge podge of classes,” director Lillian Armijo said. “We are the division that oversees the fine arts, physical recreation and non-credit courses. Not only do students enjoy these classes, but local residents – and a lot of retirees – sign up.”

 Community College Quick Facts

  Classes Begin: January 19

  Registration Deadline: February 5


  • Employees can take 3 free credit hours
  • Full-time undergraduates can take classes for free
  • Graduate students can take 1 class for free, with Graduate Office permission
  • Others: $165.84 for per credit hour
  • Non-credit courses fees vary


Classes include individual and team sports, studio arts, digital arts, music, basic office skills, health, fitness and dance. Interested in learning martial arts? The Community College offers six classes in karate, taijutsu, kung fu and tai chi. Dance classes include salsa, country-western, ballroom, Irish step, belly dance and swing dancing.

In addition to a series of guitar classes, the Community College also offers courses in conjunction with the Humanities department in, orchestra, chorus and musical theater.

The instructors come from all walks of life, including professors, community members and even students. Electrical engineering professor Scott Teare teaches College Karate. Math professor Bill Stone teaches Zymurgy 101 and 201, which are wine-tasting classes. Many of the art classes are taught by local artists.

Armijo said a committee approves offerings based on the expertise of the instructor and the perceived popularity of the topic. Two new classes this spring are taught by employees of Socorro Consolidated Schools.

High school football coach Damien Ocampo is starting a new Physical Conditioning class. Peggy Lopez, who works for the school district administration by day, is offering Salsa Aerobics in the evenings.

Other new classes include American Sign Language, Water Aerobics, Indoor Cycling and Spinning. The last two classes are described as “indoor cycling with an attitude.”

University students gravitate towards classes like Paintball, Rock Climbing, Photoshop, the guitar classes and metal arts. Retirees tend to take the fitness and fine arts classes. Employees and community members lean towards the sports, dance, PhotoShop and wine-tasting classes.

The classes are a bargain. Full-time students and Tech employees can register for three credit-hours for free, not counting special fees or books. Community members pay only $166 per credit hour – most classes are one credit hour.

Registration is now open for all Community College classes and the deadline is Friday, Feb. 5. Armijo said classes are filling fast and local folks should get signed up early to avoid waiting in line after Tech students return and to get their choice of classes.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech