WMU News

New graduate programs offered in education, health

Nov. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University trustees have unanimously approved two new master's degree programs in the College of Education and a new graduate certificate program in the College of Health and Human Services.

Acting at its Oct. 26 meeting, the WMU Board of Trustees approved master's degrees in marriage and family therapy and educational technology as well as a new graduate certificate program in clinical trials administration.

The College of Education's new master of arts degree in marriage and family therapy will help meet the growing need for counseling professionals to address relationship, family and mental health issues. Set to begin in the fall of 2002, the program effectively broadens the choices marriage and family therapy undergraduates have. Currently, students seeking a post-baccalaureate MFT degree are limited to the doctoral program at Michigan State University.

Offered by the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology in collaboration with the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the MFT master's program allows students to seek licensure without pursuing a doctoral degree. It also includes substantive study of family processes, various family forms, individual and family life cycle issues, as well as significant training in clinical assessment and treatment.

In response to the continued demand for teachers who know how to integrate technology in the K-12 classrooms, the Department of Educational Studies is launching a master of arts degree in educational technology.

The new program, set to begin in January, will equip students with the specialized technology know-how needed by today's teachers and school administrators. In addition to having hands-on expertise, program graduates will be prepared to provide leadership in educational policy.

"These people are already working in schools in technology leadership roles," says Howard Poole, an educational studies professor who helped create the master's program. "They're serving on committees, acting as technology support staff for other teachers and some are teaching very specialized skills such as networking, Web page and Web site creation, and desktop publishing."

More than ever before, school systems, government agencies and private employers are calling on teachers--and the universities that train them --to improve their educational technology competencies.

The new educational technology master's program does that and more. In addition to offering teachers courses on the practical and technical aspects of computers, networking and telecommunications, it also focuses on integrating technology into the teaching, learning and organizational aspects of schools.

Similarly, public and private-sector demand is the driving force behind WMU's new graduate certificate program in clinical trials administration.

During the past two decades, the number of novel drugs developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has doubled and the complexity of the drug development process has increased. This growth is expected to continue and possibly accelerate as new bio-engineered drugs enter the development stage. In addition, a life sciences corridor is emerging in Southwest Michigan, and clinical research is expected to increase rapidly.

Though there is a high concentration of pharmaceutical and medical device industries in the greater Kalamazoo area, WMU currently offers no courses in clinical trials administration. In the past, local industry has had to provide on-the-job training augmented by courses through national organizations. The new graduate certificate program will relieve industry of this time-intensive training and make graduates more competitive in a growing job market.

The program will be offered by the Department of Physician Assistant and will focus on the essential core competencies required by clinical research personnel. The certificate may be taken independently or may be used to supplement graduate training in related fields such as physician assistant, occupational therapy, speech pathology and audiology, biological sciences, medicine, pharmacology, engineering and marketing. In addition to students who are earning degrees, it also will serve those already employed in the profession who wish to upgrade their knowledge.

To learn more about:

The master's program in marriage and family therapy, contact Dr. Karen Blaisure at (616) 387-3663 or <karen.blaisure@wmich.edu>.

The master's program in educational technology, contact Dr. Howard Poole at (616) 387-6050 or <howard.poole@wmich.edu>.

The graduate certificate program in clinical trials administration, contact the Department of Physician Assistant at (616) 387-5314.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 616 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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