Enrollment Spikes Within Degree Completion Program
By Bob Dickson
The Master’s College Center for Professional Studies program (CPS) has seen a 30 percent rise in enrollment in the last year. Today, more than 200 students are taking classes in one of the program’s four majors, which are designed to help working adults complete their bachelor’s degree by taking classes at night.
“It’s a testament to the quality and rigor of the program,” said CPS director Wayne Dell. “Ultimately, it reflects the employer recognition of the degree in the marketplace. Students complete the program with distinct competencies—they know how to perform, not just communicate facts or knowledge.”
Of the CPS’s four majors, the most popular is the Organizational Management program. In this major, students learn the ins and out of business principles such as human resources, marketing, communications and business ethics—all from a biblical perspective.
“Organizational Management majors become instantly more valuable in the workplace,” Dell said. “But some go on to graduate school, too. We’ve seen students complete their MBA’s and then come back to teach in the program. We’ve got one graduate currently enrolled in Pepperdine Law School.”
The CPS’s other majors are Christian Ministries, Liberal Studies and Biblical Counseling.
“The Liberal Studies program provides competencies across several classical academic fields, including literature, history, science and politics,” Dell said. “Christian Ministries takes students through the major doctrines of the Bible and focuses on how to serve the church. Biblical Counseling prepares students for NANC certification.”
According to Dell, students majoring in Christian Ministries become excellent lay leaders and missionaries. Some use the program as a launching pad for seminary study. Liberal Studies majors often pursue teaching credentials. Biblical Counseling graduates are equipped to meet a genuine need within the church.
One of the program’s strengths is its cadre of professors—most of whom serve in an adjunct capacity out of necessity. They are men and women with full-time careers who have demonstrated real-world success in the fields they teach. They also hold a minimum of a master’s degree.
“Our professors are practitioners who come out of their jobs and step into the classroom,” Dell said. “This gives them a wealth of experience and credibility when they start teaching how to put principles into practice. They are living examples for the students.”
CPS classes run between three and four hours long on weeknights. Some weekend courses last for eight hours—with breaks. The idea is to offer a workable option to men and women who are at a point in life where pursuing their undergraduate degrees in a traditional format no longer makes sense. They are already in the work force, for example. Many have spouses and children.
“The program is really a family affair,” Dell said. “We tell our students that they will be going through it with their entire family. It’s a commitment that involves sacrifices from everyone. But those make for great success stories.”
Core classes for each major take approximately 20 months to complete. Depending upon the number of transferrable credits a student brings in, he or she can graduate in as little as two years.
The CPS has graduated more than 1,100 students since it began offering classes on the college’s campus in Santa Clarita, Calif. in 1994. In 2009, it opened a Northern California extension in Walnut Creek. Dell, a longtime CPS teacher, took over as director in 2006.
“The program is growing because we’ve got a great team here,” he said. “They’re doing an amazing job getting the word out.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the program is so well respected. CPS graduates have esteemed themselves in arenas of employment throughout the country. In a sense, they have become the program’s most visible billboards.
That kind of success tends to beget more success. Within the CPS, it has fueled a desire to grow.
“We keep exploring new ways to serve the community and the church,” Dell said. “We want to expand the impact of the program.”
CPS leadership is exploring the possibility of adding new degree programs to the menu. Up for discussion are programs in Communications, Information Technology and Healthcare Administration.
According to Dell, the list is anything but accidental.
“We want to keep meeting students where they are,” he said. “That means anticipating where they’re going. And that means knowing the marketplace. Christ doesn’t call us to a life of passivity. That’s what motivates all of us to get out of bed every morning. That’s why there’s so much energy in this building. We love serving where God has placed us. We love the opportunities He keeps putting before us.”
To find out more about The Master's College CPS program, click here.