Western enrolling students for new program in college student personnel

CULLOWHEE – A new master’s degree program at Western Carolina University is designed to help train the student affairs professionals that colleges and universities will require in order to meet the needs of a growing population of college students across North Carolina and the nation.

The master’s degree program in college student personnel, approved earlier this year by The University of North Carolina Board of Governors, also will provide graduate-level training and career advancement possibilities to professionals currently working in education.

“Part of the university’s mission is to provide services for the region, and we have a number of public and private two- and four-year higher education institutions in the region that require the employment of student affairs specialists,” said Robert Caruso, Western’s vice chancellor for student affairs. With some experts projecting an increase as high as 48,000 in the number of new college students statewide over the next eight years or so, demand for well-trained student support personnel is expected to increase dramatically, Caruso said.

“In addition, there are a number of comprehensive, private secondary schools in the region that employ student services personnel,” said Kevin Pennington, director of higher education programs in the College of Education and Allied Professions.

“There also are a wide range of such residential educational enterprises as summer camps, outdoor recreation facilities and national leadership retreat centers – both in this region and beyond – in need of a supply of highly trained practitioners in student services.”

The new master’s degree will require 48 semester hours of course work in such areas as student development theory, student characteristics, individual and group helping skills, and research methods.

Western is currently accepting students for the 2003 fall semester. For more information, contact the Office of Research and Graduate Studies Studies at (828) 227-7398 or (800) 369-9854.