A human services degree, with focuses on social work and counseling, will be offered for traditional students beginning in fall 2017.
The degree was previously only offered to College of Adult and Professional Program (CAPP) students.
Dr. Aisha Williams, program director, and Dr. Elaine Barclay, human services professor, are the sole human services professors for CAPP and now traditional. Both Williams and Barclay have advanced degrees in human services as well as counseling.
Williams’ goal is to get 30 to 40 students to declare majors in the program. Within three weeks after the announcement of the degree, the two professors had one major declaration and one minor declaration. The interest students are already showing is making Williams’ goal appear more feasible.
“I have extremely high hopes for traditional student involvement in the program. I fully envision the program thriving under the traditional side,” Williams said.
Senior natural sciences major Madelyn Anderson thinks the new major may be the answer to some students’ career needs.
“The degree being offered to traditional students is beneficial to those that are looking to help people on the emotional side rather than the strictly medical side of healthcare,” Anderson said. “I’ve heard students talk about wanting to help people through life, but have no interest in the medical field.”
The human services industry itself is on the rise.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the human services field will grow by 11 percent between 2014 and 2024.
With more jobs becoming available in the field, more students who choose to claim human services as their degree will have an easier time finding a job out of college.
Williams and Barclay have promised to help their traditional students adapt to the differences in this type of degree, in addition to adapting themselves as there will be some differences between the traditional program and CAPP.
Because traditional students will take the course in 16 weeks, they will get more time to stretch the same curriculum and content that CAPP students squish into eight weeks. Barclay and Williams believe the traditional students will most likely benefit more from the program due to the extra time they get to understand and practice the material, especially with the guidance from their professors.
Barclay especially wants to focus on guiding the new students through the seriousness of the field as she has already done with CAPP students through providing counseling as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
She believes strongly that a career in human services is more than just a career. She said the degree can give students something to leave the university with besides a piece of paper.
“I want the students to leave with confidence in their calling and purpose, not just a degree. They will be confident in how to use their God-given gifts to help others,” Barclay said.