Life has never moved at a faster pace than it is moving now. In order to make further education possible for those who are living at break-neck speeds, Providence Theological Seminary has become the first seminary in Canada to offer a Master of Arts degree with a major in Student Development by distance.
The needs of students in higher education today are changing, and Providence chose to offer students new access to an M.A. degree in order to accommodate those needs. “There has been a push in the past several years in graduate work to meet the needs of career students. There really is no such thing as a typical student anymore. Many people are already in a career and want to change directions or upgrade their skills,” said Marlin Reimer, Director of Student Development at Providence. The degree has been available on campus at Providence since the 1990s.
“The benefit of the program is that it equips people for all areas of the student development role,” Reimer continued, “The program covers the theoretical, as well as the practical issues. It’s a great program for anyone interested in working with students on any level. A lot of people aren’t even aware that such a career exists.” Reimer is also a graduate of the Providence M.A. program.
More than half of the academic work for the degree is done through online courses, and students come to campus for three summers for two and three-week intensive modules. The major has a strong focus on Biblical and Theological studies, in addition to the student development courses. The major also incorporates counselling courses. In keeping with the mission of Providence Theological Seminary, all courses are rooted in faith and taught by Christian professors.
The flexibility of the degree is one of the greatest benefits to students. “We are very excited to be able to offer such a great program to a whole new group of students. The program is the only one in Canada, it’s incredibly affordable, and it’s incredibly flexible. People can pursue a degree and a career in student development without having to relocate,” said Daniel Horne, Seminary Admissions Counsellor at Providence.
The program also reflects the increasing demand for professionals who are trained in student development. “So many career doors open up for people with this degree. Graduates work in all sorts of jobs from residence life, to career services, to admissions, to international student services. Almost all of the graduates from the Student Development major are working in student development right now,” said Reimer.
This new offering in distance education is just one way that Providence continues to strive to be on the leading edge of Christian higher education. The new means to a major in Student Development, which is fully accredited through the Association of Theological Seminaries, will be available for students starting in the fall 2009 semester.