University Offers New Academic Programs and Majors for 2013

North Park University will offer new or enhanced academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students beginning this fall. For undergraduates, the School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM) will offer two bachelor’s degree programs in nonprofit management. The Department of Communication Arts will offer majors in communication studies, media studies, and theatre and performance studies. For graduate students, the School of Education will offer a program for certified school teachers leading to a principal endorsement and a master of arts in educational leadership.

SBNM offers nonprofit management major

Undergraduate students can pursue either a bachelor of arts degree or a more in-depth bachelor of science degree in nonprofit management. The new degrees replace the academic concentration in nonprofit management offered by SBNM, said Dr. Wesley E. Lindahl, professor and dean of SBNM.

North Park will be the only higher education institution in the Chicago area offering a nonprofit major for undergraduates. Previously, University students interested in nonprofit management were business and economics majors, and took extra courses in the nonprofit area. The new major, with expanded coursework, enables the University to take advantage of a growing area of interest for incoming students. “The change was mainly driven by student feedback, but also driven by our school’s strategic plan to be a fully engaged educational institution in the nonprofit area,” Lindahl said. The nonprofit major is expected to bring about 15 new students per year to the University.

Students majoring in nonprofit management will learn about fundraising, building relationships with donors, working with boards, managing volunteers, understanding nonprofit budgets and accounting, and marketing in nonprofit organizations, Lindahl said. They will also take classes in sociology, and develop leadership and management skills. Undergraduate students can also declare a minor in nonprofit management.

Communication arts to offer three majors

Students can now pursue specific undergraduate degrees in three disciplines in the Department of Communication Arts: communication studies, media studies, and theatre and performance studies. The three majors previously were academic concentrations.

The recommended changes resulted from a three-year departmental process of study and discussion, and are expected to strengthen the department’s academic offerings. Offering the majors is expected to help potential employers understand the particular degrees and expertise offered by the University, and help future students identify specific academic programs offered by the department, faculty members said.

Communication arts focuses its academic programs on helping students think, speak, and write effectively. Currently, there are more than 100 undergraduate communication arts students who benefit from faculty and staff with academic experience, technical expertise, and multiple professional connections throughout Chicago, said Dr. Robert Hostetter, chair and professor of communication arts. “We also graduate cross-trained students, with expertise in more than one communication discipline,” Hostetter added.

Principal endorsement, MAEL approved by State

This summer, North Park will begin preparing certified school teachers to “think like a leader, act like a leader, and be a leader,” a phrase that appears throughout its new academic program for aspiring principals. The University will offer a program that enables a certified teacher to earn a principal endorsement as well as a master of arts in educational leadership (MAEL) degree. The new educational program is a successor to the Type 75 general administrative certificate program, which is being phased out by the State of Illinois. The first cohort for the MAEL begins July 13.

Students will learn through classroom instruction taught by educators and other professionals, plus an internship experience. While other colleges and universities may offer similar programs, North Park offers smaller cohorts and individualized support for students. “Small class sizes during the coursework sessions allows us to have a lot of dialogue, interaction, and feedback,” said Dr. Sally Pryor, MAEL program coordinator and associate professor of education. “During their internships, we go to their schools and meet with them on-site, and in our classes, we discuss what they’re learning through their internships experiences.”

The University is working with three Illinois partner schools in its MAEL program: Mary, Seat of Wisdom School, Park Ridge; East Prairie School District 73, Skokie; and Rhodes School District 84.5, River Grove.

Earlier, the University announced a new sports management concentration for 2013, to be offered through SBNM, as well as new academic concentrations in fine arts, curatorial studies, and graphic design. The art department also revised its traditional fine arts program, and created a checklist for students interested in a pre-professional educational program in art therapy.

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New Academic Programs