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New degree program will suit needs of working adults

  • A new accelerated degree program will start in the fall, meeting the needs of nontraditional students.

Posted on February 24, 2014

The launch of a new degree program for working adults shows that Grand Valley is meeting the needs of nontraditional students in an innovative way.

The Center for Adult and Continuing Studies has started recruiting students for a cohort in the Liberal Studies Leadership Program, a 19-month accelerated degree program.

Simone Jonaitis, executive director of the CACS, said the program will meet the needs of working adults and their employers.

“People with strong theoretical knowledge and practical experience in leadership are needed in today’s workforce,” Jonaitis said. “This program will focus on helping students develop the skills needed to advance in jobs or pursue new careers.”

The program will start in the Fall 2014 semester. Qualified students will take one five-week class at a time. Students who will best qualify will have earned about 72 credits, are at least 24 years old with two or more years of work experience, and are highly motivated.

Judy Whipps, professor of liberal studies and philosophy, helped develop the program’s course content. She said the program will give adult learners practical skills and engage them in the “reflective practice that is at the core of liberal education.” Whipps added that leadership studies fulfills those two goals.

“Leadership studies provides an opportunity for students to enhance current skills and build new capacities; it also is flexible enough to apply to many different fields of work,” she said.

The CACS piloted a similar liberal studies degree program with an emphasis on leadership at the Muskegon Center three years ago. Whipps said that pilot program enabled faculty and staff members to determine which courses best suited the needs of adult learners.

Details about the program are online at

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