A new group of students and a new way of teaching have been added to the Goshen College community through the creation of additional degree programs for non-traditional students.

Expanding on existing programs for non-traditional students, Goshen College has added three new programs this month. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) directed by the social work department, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) led by the business department, and the Masters of Arts in Intercultural Leadership (MAIL) administered by Center of Intercultural and International Education, complement existing programs in Nursing and in Organizational Leadership.

Enrollment and creating authentic classes are the main focuses in getting the programs to grow and develop. Six students started the BASW and BSBA programs at the beginning of this spring semester and the hope is that at least 20 students will start every seven weeks. MAIL will begin in June as a hybrid and cooperative program with more online class time than in-class time.

A new ad campaign highlights the flexibility and affordability for an older demographic; both are needed in order for these students to complete a degree in four years as well as advance their careers.  The BASW and BSBA have students take two classes at a time, meeting for four hours once a week, over a seven-week period. Jeanne Lietchy, professor of social work, is adamant that the programs be made “accessible in terms of class times and formats, course sequencing, and cost structure.”

Randy Gunden, executive director of adult and on-line programs, helped facilitate program development and launch these programs because of the unmet demand he saw with non-traditional students. He realized that if students were unable to be part of the knowledge economy it made life “pretty tough.” Therefore, the need for further education led to the expansion of the Goshen College degree programs to give new them new opportunities.

Gunden is also set on creating new delivery or teaching methods, because older students have different demands and because “the traditional education model is under high stress.” These new systems may incorporate offering online, hybrid or summer courses. The classes are also more “lecturettes” with participation that pulls from experience so the students feel engaged.

Of course, there are negatives to starting any new program, and this project is no exception. A new calendar had to be made and financial aid, registrar and enrollment offices were busier with new students. However, Gunden said the administration and faculty has been phenomenal, even with the added workload.

Everyone involved is excited about these programs because of the changes they may bring. Bringing in a new constituency to Goshen’s community and a chance to share Goshen values with them are the ultimate goals of these programs. Now students can heal the world peace by peace as well as advance their careers.