Hot New College Programs
A roundup of new academic offerings from Kentucky colleges and universities—from innovative majors and minors, to new courses, and a new way of learning for today’s students
The college experience is all about NEW—new experiences, new perspectives, new understandings, new friends, new ways of interacting with the world. And the colleges themselves are constantly making themselves new again by offering fresh courses, innovative majors and minors, and even new ways of ensuring students get off on the right foot when they head to college.
This year we asked leaders at Kentucky’s colleges and universities—public and private—to share what they consider are their newest and hottest programs. The following is only a small glimpse into dozens of new and exciting programs.
Are you a new college student, or an adult thinking about returning to college? We urge you to do more research—read for the Kentucky Living 2013 College Guide in this month's issue, where you will find additional “Hot New Programs” listed. Then you can contact colleges directly to learn what academic programs best fit your needs.
Although main campus locations are listed below, many colleges have a variety of campuses throughout the state, as well as online courses.
A broader worldview
The world has never been simultaneously both smaller and larger. That new reality is reflected in the array of courses and majors that help students understand disparate cultures, languages, histories, and economics.
The two statewide public colleges offer good examples. At the University of Louisville (U of L) and University of Kentucky (UK), Lexington, for example, students can now major in Latin American and Latino Studies, and Hispanic Studies, respectively. UK also offers a minor in Appalachian Studies; some of its courses are linked to courses at Delhi University focusing on the Himalayan region of India. The College of Arts and Sciences is offering a special yearlong look at Russia. Titled the “Year of Russia,” there are special classes, symposia, and other opportunities to learn more about this important country. UK is also one of only 20 universities in the U.S. to offer a Ph.D. in Gender and Women’s Studies.
At U of L, students can also major in Asian Studies or earn a certificate in Peace, Justice and Conflict Resolution.
At Transylvania University, Lexington, students can minor in Asian Studies, an extension of the school’s current Chinese Language and culture offerings. The Asian Studies minor integrates classes from history, literature, fine arts, and other related areas. Students can also undertake an interdisciplinary major called PPE that draws from courses in philosophy, political science, and economics, as well as history, business administration, religion, anthropology, sociology, women’s studies, literature, and foreign language.
A few miles away at Centre College, Danville, students have a myriad of choices when it comes to understanding the world, with new minors in African and African-American Studies, Asian Studies, European Studies, Film Studies, Global Commerce, Latin American Studies, and Linguistics.
“More than ever, classroom learning alone is not enough,” says Bob Nesmith, dean of admissions and student financial planning. “To be well-educated, a student must be able to connect what they learn in the classroom or laboratory with the needs of an interconnected world and a competitive employment market.”
Accordingly, the school has expanded what they call “The Centre Commitment”—a promise that Centre “will do its part to provide our students the real-world and wide-world experiences they need to make the most of an extraordinary education.” The school now guarantees students who meet the college’s academic and social expectations an internship or (beginning with the 2017 class) a research opportunity, study abroad, and graduation in four years. If a student is unable to accomplish this within four consecutive years of enrollment, Centre will provide up to an additional year of study tuition-free.
The University of Pikeville in eastern Kentucky recently hired a director of global education, and will begin offering new opportunities for students to study abroad, as well as an English as a Second Language Institute and other programs geared toward global education.
Sure steps to a better job
Ultimately, the goal of every student is to find a good job in a field of their choice. Within the statewide Kentucky Community & Technical College System known as KCTCS, they make that easy by identifying what they call “high wage/high demand” programs.
Each KCTCS college offers its own variety of these programs, which include criminal justice/law enforcement administration; masonry; carpentry; electrician; plumbing technology; occupational therapist assistant; physical therapist assistant; nuclear medical technologist; medical radiologic technology/science-radiation therapist; diagnostic medical sonographer and ultrasound technician; nursing; business administration and management and real estate, and many more.
The high-wage, high-demand programs target high-growth industry sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, energy, banking and financial
services, and construction.
A better start in college
At Transylvania, new approaches begin even before classes commence. First-year students arriving on Transylvania University’s campus in 2012 participated in the inaugural August term, a three-week academic and orientation program. August term is the first component of the restructured first-year academic experience at Transy. The first-year experience also includes seminars, a series of lectures and cultural events, and a strong first-year advising program.
Filling a critical need in healthcare
Acquiring an education not only enriches the individual’s life, it also benefits society. Perhaps that is most evident in one of the hottest fields today—nursing. From public to private to technical and proprietary, Kentucky’s colleges are providing innovative ways to train nurses and help them continually grow.
One of the newest approaches can be found at Campbellsville University, Taylor County, where they now offer an RN-to-BSN program that is fully online. Students can keep their jobs and families intact while advancing in their career at their own pace and when it is convenient for them. Kentucky Christian University, Grayson, also offers a brand-new RN-to-BSN program that both provides students “a lot more flexibility” and “attracts a wider range of students.”
Union College, in southeastern Kentucky, launched a traditional, four-year B.S. in nursing in the fall of 2012 to address the demand for a traditional nursing program in the area. This new program is in addition to the RN-to-BSN program that Union began in the fall of 2010. At Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, nursing is hugely popular although it is new. The college will graduate its first class of nursing students this spring.
U of L has a post-master’s certification for acute-care nurse practitioners, while UK offers its popular registered nursing and RN-to-BSN programs. UK’s RN-BSN enrollment has increased approximately 180 percent over the past decade.
In addition to nursing, schools are offering programs in other areas of healthcare. At Strayer University, they now offer an M.S. in health services administration, while at the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, they are training physician assistants—arguably the most sought-after professionals in all of healthcare.
Brave new media world
Traditional definitions of the media now defy reality. That fact is not lost on Kentucky campuses, where they are helping students understand the new world of communicating in an ever-connected, minute-by-minute world.
Northern Kentucky University has a new program that combines public relations, advertising, and applied communication. Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, long a national powerhouse for training journalists and media professionals, has added Popular Culture Studies. At Campbellsville University, their graphic design program is extremely popular, as is the Film and Media Arts program at the University of Pikeville. And at Lindsey Wilson College, Media Studies is “wildly successful.” It includes journalism, public relations, and media arts.
In 2012, Kentucky’s six regional public universities were collectively allowed to offer up to a maximum of 18 advanced-practice doctoral programs, with each school assured of a minimum of two, thanks to a new law passed by the Kentucky General Assembly.
Western Kentucky University offers two new programs, a doctor of physical therapy and a doctor of nursing practice. Morehead State University now offers a doctoral program in Educational Administration, which can even be completed online.
Creating a better world
The many ways to improve the world are reflected in the wealth of programs designed to help students do just that when they graduate. At U of L, a new Student Philanthropy program was embedded in an undergraduate Event Management class, which gives students hands-on, practical experience in helping strengthen and support the local community. It is led by Gary Bernstein, who worked for nonprofit organizations for 30 years before becoming an instructor at U of L.
Students learn about social responsibility and community engagement by raising money for a designated charity by organizing and implementing a special event. They call on donors, write sponsorship letters, market the program, and handle all the details involved in making a special event like this a resounding success.
For this particular class, they’ll present more than $10,000 in proceeds from the event to Metro United Way. In addition, the students will gain firsthand knowledge in grant-making. They awarded a $1,000 grant to a west Louisville nonprofit organization, Neighborhood House, on December 6.
At other schools, the goal is the same but the focus is different. Bellarmine University, Louisville, offers degrees in Environmental Studies, and St. Catharine College, near Bardstown, offers Sustainable Agriculture.
Sullivan University, Louisville, has heating and cooling with a green twist. In addition to giving
students the skills to launch a career, Sullivan’s program also emphasizes the skills and knowledge required to understand building automation systems and their efficient use of energy.
In addition, Brescia University’s program, Owensboro, in social work was reaffirmed by the Council on Social Work Education, Commission on Accreditation, which makes it the first accredited online undergraduate social work degree completion program in the country.
At Murray State University, students in the Music Business program benefit from strong ties between the music industry in Nashville and the college, and many are able to land an internship in Nashville. Pre-veterinary students benefit similarly from strong ties with the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, resulting in Murray State students having one of the highest admission rates to veterinary school in the country.
Knowledge is expanding at a rate never experienced before, and the transmission of that knowledge has changed just as dramatically. Furthermore, teachers are leaders not just in the acquisition of learning but in helping their students navigate the never-ending waves of social change. Kentucky colleges have developed an array of programs to help teachers accomplish these complex tasks.
At Bellarmine University, they have added a Ph.D. in Education and Social Change. This program, launched in 2011, prepares educators to become change agents and leaders in improving the education of people coming from high poverty circumstances. It’s designed for people working in higher education, educational research, and leadership of not-for-profit agencies.
At Thomas More College, in northern Kentucky, in addition to an M.A. in Education, the college has also added a new Teacher Leader M.A. in Education. This program helps prepare teachers to collaborate and create new visions of 21st-century learning as leaders in the field of education.
At Midway College, in central Kentucky, they use a blended (some classes online/some on campus) approach for students earning an M.A. in Teaching. WKU has added an Ed.D in Educational Leadership (one of its first doctoral programs), and UK has a new course of study called Teacher Education and Professional Development.
This is a great year to see what new programs are being offered, whether you’re a first-year college student or an adult going back to school.
KEYWORD EXCLUSIVE: MORE NEW PROGRAMS
There was simply no way to list all the new programs in this story, so you will find even more online, along with how Kentucky’s postsecondary schools are meeting the needs in today’s world. Go here.