New Academic Programs Expand Learning Options

The University introduced and announced several new programs this academic year.

School of Music launches certificate and four degree concentrations

Students in the School of Music are the first in the nation to have an undergraduate academic certificate option to prepare them to teach classical music using El Sistema-inspired methods, the new certificate in music for social change. Growing out of a social movement in Venezuela, El Sistema is a philosophy of providing free music education to school-aged children as one way of bringing communities together and inspiring young students to achieve great things.

The certificate in music for social change will introduce University music majors to this philosophy through teaching stringed instruments to elementary-aged students. Through theory and methods courses, as well as three semesters of internship, graduates of the program will gain the tools and experience to use El Sistema-inspired techniques throughout their career, developing young musicians who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn classical music.

The School of Music is also now offering an enhanced bachelor of arts (BA), providing concentration options for students to focus their degrees. Now, along with a broad general studies option, students can select concentrations in arts administration, composition, or instrumental jazz studies.

“Right now, students can come here and get a top-notch performance degree, audition for graduate schools, and pursue their dream of being a classical musician or opera singer,” said Dr. Craig Johnson, dean of the School of Music. “But they can also pursue this enriched BA with a much broader approach and free themselves up to experiment with many more options.”

Seminary launches doctor of ministry in urban ministry leadership

The Seminary, in partnership with Fuller Theological Seminary, will launch its doctor of ministry in urban ministry leadership in the spring semester. The new cohort doctoral degree is designed for ministerial leaders to develop the theological foundation and practical skills for effective urban ministry and leadership.

The cohort program blends online learning throughout the year with face-to-face intensive courses in which students will meet annually in three different cities—Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta—for one week. After completing three cohort years, students work with faculty on an independent study project, then begin a two- to three-year doctoral project that focuses on individual ministry interests.

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, brings extensive experience and scholarship in urban and multicultural ministry as director of the new program. A nationally recognized author, speaker, church planter, and professor, Dr. Rah was the founding senior pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, a multi-ethnic church committed to ministry in the urban context.

Master of arts in counseling psychology announced

The School of Adult Learning announced a new master of arts in counseling psychology program, targeted to launch in fall 2014. The two-year program sequence consists of 16 three-credit courses in an accelerated seven-week format, culminating in a 600-hour internship. For students seeking a pastoral focus in their counseling work, the Seminary is partnering with the School of Adult Learning to offer course options that can be substituted for two of the required degree courses. Students who choose to take the Seminary courses will still meet state professional counselor licensure requirements.

“The degree will build upon the broader North Park identity of embracing cultural diversity and the active integration of an inclusively-defined Christian perspective,” said Dr. Paul Priester, professor of psychology. Priester said the program builds upon the assets that the School of Adult Learning’s undergraduate degree in counseling psychology currently offers. “Our counseling psychology major also has an internship component, so we have already developed excellent networking with clinical sites in the Chicago area.”

Dual-degree engineering program announced

The University, in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Engineering, will launch a dual-degree program in engineering in Fall 2014. Students who complete the program will receive a bachelor of science in physics from North Park University and a bachelor of science in civil engineering or mechanical engineering from UIC, where North Park alumnus Peter Nelson C’84 serves as dean of the College of Engineering. The five-year program will enable students to complete alternating coursework at both universities.

“With the dual degree, we now have a program where engineering and liberal arts portions of the program can be intermixed during the student’s five years in college,” said Dr. Johnny Lin, professor of physics. “This will help the student experience an enhanced interdisciplinarity in their studies.”

Next Steps

Read more from the Winter 2014 North Parker.