PINEVILLE, La. (LCNews)--Students wishing to further their education at Louisiana College now have even more options with the addition of three graduate degree programs and a bachelor of science in computer science.
LC received approval from SACSCOC in June for an MEd in Leadership, MSN, MSW and BS in Computer Science. In addition to its MAT, LC now offers four graduate programs. “These academic advancements confirm our commitment to provide a foundational liberal arts curriculum as a solid framework for multiple professional programs to build from in the days ahead,” LC President Dr. Rick Brewer said in an August 17 press conference. “Indeed, STEM becomes STEAM at Louisiana College.”
SACSCOC approved the new programs along with permitting LC to offer classes completely online.
“When you look at the demographics, there is a declining number of young people available for traditional undergraduate education,” Brewer said. “But there is still a demand, still a need for Christian education.”
Brewer noted the “heart and soul of Christian education is not to equip students for just a job. But the heart and soul, the purpose of what we do, is to equip students for life.”
When Brewer came to the school in 2015, only the Master of Arts in Teaching degree was offered. Now, LC has expanded its graduate programs with the addition of the Master in Social Work and Master in Education in Educational Leadership and the RN to MSN track that will enroll registered nurses practicing with an associate degree in nursing or hospital diploma to one day receive a Master of Science in Nursing.
Sheri Duffy, chairwoman of the Human Behavior Division at LC, called the new Master in Social Work an incredible opportunity for the college and central Louisiana. “We believe our MSW is unique to Louisiana and this region because the curriculum has an 18-hour healthcare component and is based on a Christian worldview,” Duffy said. “Helping students understand how the values of social work and those of the Christian faith closely align is a key component in their education and in the application of their skills in the marketplace.”
Dr. Amy Craig, Dean of the Division of Teacher Education Dr. Amy Craig said the Master of Education in Educational Leadership “enables teachers to attain leadership certification for administrative positions in the educational field and equips them to be highly effective in today’s challenging school environments.
“Our MEd degree gives LC a competitive edge because it is the most affordable in the state, and all the courses are offered either online or in a hybrid format,” Craig said.
“Public school education thrives on the constant efforts of research as we seek to discover better methods of educating students. LC’s MEd program teaches proven research-based strategies to ensure that our teachers and administrators are equipped to perform at high levels,” Craig added. “Not only are we currently the most affordable, perhaps even more importantly, we are Christ-centered, and that allows our students to fully develop their skills as lifelong servant leaders in the field of education.”
Dr. Marilyn Cooksey, Dean of the School of Nursing, said, “Louisiana College has a rich heritage in the health care field, and we are elated to expand our influence beyond the bachelor level in nursing to even greater excellence through a graduate nursing degree.”
With the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, the school hopes to address the current and future shortage of a skilled labor force in the field of information technology, according to David Elliott, chairman for the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
“As technology increasingly affects our day-to-day lives, LC is preparing graduates and transforming lives for tomorrow’s marketplace,” Elliott said. “This transformation is not only academic, but also informs a student’s character. We believe it is vital that those who would be authorized to access and oversee Information Technology should also be trained under the rubric of a Judeo-Christian ethic.
“This is why we focus on the maturity of intellect and the maturity of character for our students at LC,” he said. “Though personal integrity is important throughout one’s life, it could not be any more important to those who would have access to sensitive information in our computer driven age.”
With approval to offer courses 100 percent online, LC plans to expand online studies to the Criminal Justice degree that begins this fall.
By doing so, school leaders hope to make it possible to enroll even more students as they march toward their ultimate goal of the Vision 2020 plan of enrolling 1,500 students by the year 2020.
Already, the school has seen promising signs of marching closer to that mark. LC announced last September that new student enrollment was 250 students, reflecting a 14.5 percent compared to the previous year. However, with a projected 330 new students and 70 transfer students, enrollment could increase by about 32 percent more than fall 2016.
“This is the culmination of our combined efforts of traveling the state, speaking in churches, launching new tracks of study, re-engaging our donor base, offering a new suite of scholarships, and nothing less that sheer hard work unselfishly given by our leadership team,” Brewer said.
“However, none of this would be possible without the blessings of God and the support of Louisiana Baptists, and we are grateful for both.”
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Brian Blackwell of the Louisiana Baptist Message contributed to this report.