News Release

News Release Library
July 30, 2001

St. Edward's University launches new major in human services

In response to an increasing need for services provided by non-profit, community based and social service agencies, the St. Edward's University New College program is introducing a new program this fall: a bachelor of arts in human services. St. Edward's University will be the first institution in the Austin area to offer a bachelor's level degree in human services geared toward working adults.

"With this innovative program, we hope to prepare students with knowledge and better tools for dealing with complex and demanding issues such as grief and loss, violence, poverty and addictions," said Vicki Totten, assistant professor of counseling and coordinator of the human services program. "By providing graduates with the professional and personal skills they need to be more effective in this area, we hope to lessen the high levels of turnover experienced by many agencies and organizations helping people in need."

According to research by program developers, market demands have prompted a greater need for skilled workers with a bachelor's level education in the areas of direct services, criminal justice, addictions and non-profit management. Non profit and state agencies are increasingly relying on bachelor's level caseworkers to meet their demands.

"There is a great need for people with an educational background in the human services," said Ralph Salinas, division administrator for Recruitment and Retention at the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. "The demand for workers is increasing, and St. Edward's program will not only help people enter the field, but also will help agencies provide better quality services."

Prior to this degree being offered, working adult students interested in the human and social services area had limited options. They could pursue a daytime degree in social work, which sometimes can be difficult for working adults due to the scheduling constraints, or they could pursue a psychology degree, which can give students a good base of theoretical knowledge but very little real hands on experiences. New College's human services degree, with courses offered in the evenings, will give working adult students a combination of traditional classroom instruction with hands on, real world experience.

In addition to the new bachelor's degree, St. Edward's also will offer a non-profit management certificate that can supplement a students existing degree plan or provide an avenue for continuing education for bachelors degree holders.

St. Edward's University has a history of creating programs with local market demands in mind. Programs such as New College's fast-tracked bachelor's degree in computer systems management and the master's of business administration program's concentration in e-commerce were both created in the last two years to meet the needs of an increasingly high-tech economy. A master of science in organizational leadership was launched this fall to meet the community's need for ethical leaders in both the business and non-profit sectors.

For more information on the program, please contact Vicki Totten at 512-416-5889.

St. Edward's University, founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, is an independent, Catholic, liberal arts university of 3,800 students in Austin, Texas.

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Program Description

The interdisciplinary bachelor of arts in human services and the certificate in non profit management offered by New College at St. Edward's University combine coursework from psychology, social work, and criminal justice to enable human services practitioners to address the needs of diverse populations in a variety of settings. The non-profit management certificate can be attached to any New College major or students who already have an undergraduate degree can choose to just pursue the certificate by itself.

One of the goals in creating a major specifically for the human services field is to provide undergraduate professionals with better tools for dealing with issues such as grief and loss, violence, poverty and addictions. By providing graduates with the skills they need to be more effective in this area, the hope is to lessen the high levels of turnover experienced by many agencies and organizations helping people in need.

In addition to preparing students for work in the human services and non-profit field, the new programs also will serve as a good foundation for students who want to continue on with graduate work at St. Edward's in the Master of Arts in Counseling or the Master of Human Services.

New College

New College was founded in 1974 on the belief that a quality nontraditional degree program could be designed for adults. Since then, the program has grown rapidly, and today its enrollment reflects a diverse adult student body whose ages span several generations and whose backgrounds include business, technical, and human service professions. New College offers adults an educational program adapted to their needs by providing flexible admissions and registration, personal advising, several means of gaining college credit and maximum opportunities for interaction with faculty. Students may pursue more than 40 majors including business, computer science, the humanities, social and behavioral science, and natural science.

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