The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approved the new degree programs during its meeting today in Richmond, the final step needed after earlier endorsements by U.Va.’s Faculty Senate and the Board of Visitors.
The Curry School of Education’s Youth and Social Innovation major is designed to prepare graduates to promote youth development outside traditional schools and classrooms. Students will gain substantial hands-on experience working in established out-of-school programs like the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters or U.Va.’s own Young Women Leaders Program, a research-based mentoring program for middle school girls created in 1997 and since widely replicated.
In addition, students will learn how to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of youth programs and policies, with opportunities to apply these skills by joining research teams at Curry’s research centers, including the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning; the Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness; and Youth-NEX: The Center to Promote Effective Youth Development.
“Learning how to engage youth is very different than learning the skills needed to be an effective evaluator of youth programs and policy or to be an innovator of new programs that work,” said Edith “Winx” Lawrence, a professor at the Curry School and coordinator for the new major. “In the Youth and Social Innovation major, our students will learn to do all three.”
This combination makes the new major unique, Curry School Dean Robert Pianta said. “The Curry School is known for combining high level scholarship and experiential learning, and the YSI major will be one of the first programs in the nation to integrate theory and research on youth development with direct application to youth programming and policy.”
U.Va.’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies will offer a new Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in Health Sciences Management as a part-time, online, degree-completion program for nationally certified health professionals with a relevant applied associate degree.
Focused on competencies in communication, relationship management, health care knowledge and health care business principles, the new degree will prepare students to lead and manage imaging centers, clinical labs, respiratory care centers, physical therapy facilities or even teams of insurance billing coders.
“According to some estimates, the demand for people in those sorts of health care management roles is expected to outstrip even the growing demand for clinicians,” said Billy Cannaday, dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. “For allied health care professionals, a bachelor’s degree opens many doors. And even if one does not move into management, the current health care environment rewards employees for advancing their skills in health care, technology and communications, which this program will do.”