Would you like to learn about Appalachian food, astronomy, symphonic music and more without worrying about your GPA? ETSU’s Alliance for Continued Learning is offering classes in these areas and more this fall.

“It’s a community group, and they want to continue learning to keep the brain cells going,” said Director of the Office of Professional Development Darla Dye. “They like a mixture of courses, so some are academic and some are just for fun.”

According to the Alliance’s fall catalogue,“members experience lifelong learning in a friendly and stimulating atmosphere. Classes are informal with no exams and no grades.”

Classes for this fall began on Sept. 19 and they take place every Tuesday and Wednesday for seven weeks. Membership fees are $45 and include all classes. Members may take as many or few of the classes as they like.

However, these courses do not result in a certificate. They are purely for the enjoyment of learning.

“This particular set of classes, they do not have certificates,” Dye said. “The Alliance for Continued Learning, they’re just a group that want to get together and continue their learning.”

The Office of Professional Development also offers courses for anyone wanting to change careers or start a new one. Magnetic residence imaging, phlebotomy, computed tomography, pharmacy technician and clinical medical assistant courses are offered through the office.

“Those are what we call workforce development courses,” she said. “We do want to offer that for people trying to get a job. Maybe they don’t want to get a degree, or maybe they have a degree, but they want to change their job.”

Those courses may be of interest to current students who want to make higher wages at their jobs or prepare for their future careers.

“As undergraduate students, we usually have to work some kind of part-time job,” Dye said. “It might be a work study … or we might have to work off campus. So, especially if you’re interested in the health field and you want to get your foot in, the phlebotomy, the clinical medical assistant and the pharmacy tech [courses] are great opportunities for that.”

Test-prep courses are also available through the office. Classes for the GRE are $85 and $750 for the LSAT.

Courses through the Office of Professional Development are offered at lower prices than they may be at other locations, and there are some scholarship opportunities available.

On Oct. 6, a course for painting pets will be held and Fall Enrichment for children beginning Oct. 2. Fall Enrichment is a week long course for students in the area during their fall break from school.

Anyone interested in the Alliance for Continued Learning, workforce development classes or test prep can view available classes by visiting the Office of Professional Development website, www.etsu.edu/professionaldevelopment, or call 423-439-8084.

“I think we’re kind of the best kept secret,” Dye said about the office. “Not a lot of people know about us.”