At Western Connecticut State University, students and professors are building on our reputation for a public health and safety education that benefits the community, from a Nursing program to square dances for veterans.
Nursing at WCSU is a program on the rise, poised after a major expansion of instructional facilities and deepening of faculty strength to meet the challenge of growth in student enrollment over the next two years.
The latest citation placing WCSU’s Nursing program at the top of its class comes from a survey of Nursing programs in Connecticut, which ranked Western Connecticut State University first among 20 public and private nursing schools statewide. This honor comes as WCSU builds on one ofthe University’s academic strengths with new state-of-the-art instructional facilities and a major expansion in undergraduate enrollment in its Bachelor of Science program.
With an expanded class of 96 students enrolled at the sophomore level, the Department’s core undergraduate program is on track to complete a two fold increase in overall enrollment. At the same time, our Health Promotion Studies bachelor’s program has received the prestigious accreditation of the Council on Education for Public Health, affirming that the undergraduate curriculum meets rigorous academic standards.
The HPX Department’s undergraduate curriculum offers four options for concentrations, including Community Health, Wellness Management, Holistic and Integrative Health, and Allied Health Professions. Completion of the bachelor’s program prepares HPX graduates to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist examination, the nationally recognized credential for health educators.
“There is value in taking a really good look at your courses and your program to determine what the learning outcomes are and whether we are achieving our goals,” said Dr. Robyn Housemann, Director of the Institute for Holistic Health Studies. “Our goal is to prepare our students well with the skills they need for the job market.”
The University is also expanding in the sciences. WCSU has entered a collaborative initiative through the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system to offer a new Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity. Coordinated by Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Theodora Pinou, the program establishes a partnership between WCSU and Southern Connecticut State University to provide a 30-credit master’s degree curriculum with courses taught on both campuses. Faculty from the WCSU Biological and Environmental Sciences Department and the SCSU Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences Department participate as course instructors and research mentors. Plans call for future participation by faculty at Eastern Connecticut and Central Connecticut State Universities.
An important aspect of the program is the opportunity for MS candidates to collaborate with a wide range of corporations, educational institutions, conservation and wildlife organizations, and other partners where students can apply their skills and knowledge to real-world experiences in the exploration and monitoring of biodiversity. The program also maintains international collaborative relationships with the University of Guadalajara CUCBA and the University of Athens.
“This program will train the student’s eye to become more sensitive to the natural variations of the biological world,” Dr. Pinou said. “Biodiversity is important because most technological advances stem from solutions found in the natural world.”
In the Department of Education and Educational Psychology, the master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has earned prestigious recognition. Action Behavior Centers, the autism advocacy and treatment organization, included the WCSU program in its “Top 50 Online ABA Master’s Programs and Certificates in 2018” survey of higher education institutions across the United States. This survey marks the latest in a series of honors that have drawn national recognition to the excellence of the ABA master’s program. The “Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide” released in December 2018, ranked WCSU #1 among higher education institutions nationwide that offer an online master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.
The “ABA Programs Guide” profile of WCSU noted that the University’s fully online instructional program prepares students “to effectively quantify and measure behavior in order to make effective changes that will improve overall behavior of an individual, group, or organization.” The guide noted students in the WCSU program learn how to measure behavior, collect and analyze data, and make suitable modifications to increase appropriate behavior and decrease inappropriate behavior.
The MS program includes 19 credits of core coursework designed to qualify graduates to sit for the BCBA examination sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
In fall 2019, the WCSU Department of Psychology responded to the regional and national opioid crisis with the launch of a new Master of Science in Addiction Studies program designedto prepare counselors specializing in the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.
The 37-credit MS program offered in the Department of Psychology willinclude coursework with faculty specialists in addiction studies as well as extensive internship opportunities forstudents to work at area agencies on the front line of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
Graduates will complete the program fully prepared to seek Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)certification, the licensure recognized by Connecticut statute for professionals who provide specialized prevention and early intervention services in collaboration with mental health and medical providers for individuals diagnosed with opioid and other substance use disorders.
A $1 million federal grant will enable WCSU to expand internship and training assignments for students to work with high-risk populations, promote multidisciplinary collaborations in addiction studies, and introduce new partnerships and outreach efforts in the community. WCSU is the only Connecticut institution to receive an OWEP grant and one of only six New England recipients.
In 2018, the Ancell School of Business acquired accreditation from theAssociation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), placing WCSU among the top 5% of business schools in the world. The Accounting program is routinely ranked among the top in the state, particularly for its preparation of students for the CPA exam, and Marketing students consistently score in the top five in national competitions. Ancell offers an MBA and a Master’s in Health Administration, both designed to allow practitioners to improve their knowledge andskills on the job while attending class part-time.
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing is a low-residency program that allows students to earn a degree with oversight from professional writers while meeting in-person on campus only twice a year. All these opportunities are available at WCSU for students who want hands-on experience inthe classroom and community settings—the key to satisfying careers and strong access to employers.