WMU News

Board approves two degree programs

July 25, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees July 25 approved two degree programs designed to meet the needs of professionals in their respective fields.

The trustees endorsed recommendations to offer a doctor of philosophy degree in counselor education and a master of science degree in construction management.

The Ph.D. degree replaces a doctor of education degree that WMU has offered in counselor education since the late 1960s. The program, offered through the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology in the College of Education, is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Over the past decade, the program has evolved from emphasizing clinical services like counseling to also including a significant scientific research component. The program has been revised to maintain a strong practitioner base while enhancing the research skills of students who may want to pursue a scientific approach to counselor education.

"The program has shifted from a practitioner model of training to our current scientist-practitioner focus," said Dr. Timothy Light, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "The curriculum has been modified to reflect more of a research focus without diminishing a strong practitioner base. Personnel changes in the department have also been consistent with the scientist-practitioner model of training so that we now have a highly research oriented faculty."

Light noted that the program currently enrolls about 30 students. Each year, the program receives some 30 applications and extends admission offers to six to eight prospective students.

"The Ph.D. designation will make our program even more attractive to quality applicants," he said. "It also will provide our graduates with the most widely accepted doctoral level degree designation in the field and enhance employment opportunities."

The change in the program will take effect this fall. WMU currently offers a total of 23 doctoral degree programs.

The M.S. in construction management is a new program designed to meet the needs of engineering and technology graduates working in the construction industry who want to play an active role in the management of state, national or international construction. No master's level program of this kind presently is offered in the state.

The program is viewed as a natural extension of WMU's bachelor's degree in construction engineering and management offered through the Department of Construction Engineering, Materials Engineering and Industrial Design in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. That program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc.

"The master's degree program is well within the capabilities of the faculty members currently teaching the baccalaureate degree and was designed to strengthen the construction industries in Southwest Michigan," Light said. "With the baccalaureate degree program and this master's degree, WMU is establishing itself as a leader in the engineering and management of large construction projects."

Beginning with the winter semester in January 1998, the University plans to offer the program live at its Grand Rapids Regional Center and to broadcast it to its main campus in Kalamazoo. Eventually, the program also could be broadcast to WMU's regional center in Lansing, where another large group of construction companies has headquarters. The new degree will bring to 64 the number of master's programs available at WMU.

Both degree programs have been approved through the University's curricular review process and have been endorsed by the academic officers of the Presidents Council of State Universities.

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