Rosemead stretches limits

The Rosemead School of Psychology anticipates accreditation for the first fully online degree-completion program at Biola.

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Rosemead stretches limits

Alondra Urizar/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar/THE CHIMES

Jana Eller, Writer

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Geographic limitations in education are expected to be broken as Rosemead School of Psychology seeks accreditation for the first fully online degree program at Biola.

Next Logical Step

A few years ago, the faculty began discussing how to better serve students who are mostly 25 or older with families and have already started on a career path. They began working towards the first fully online degree completion program at Biola.

“Part of the university’s goal is to impact the world for Christ and this just seems like the next logical step,” said Gary Kiker, academic success coach for the new program.

The creation of this program has been a team effort with many of the departments on campus, from receiving support from the digital learning department, to the psychology department team itself.

For Returning Students

Peter Hill, undergraduate chair of the Rosemead School of Psychology, explains that this program is different from the traditional BA psychology program in that it is designed for students who began college, and for various reasons had to stop and are now returning to finish.

“Their desires of [a college degree] often will lead to the opportunity for promotion at work and I think psych is just a good kind of degree to have for most of the kinds of work that they do, because most of that work requires somehow working with people,” Hill said.

Enrollment

Although it is hard to guess the number of applicants they will get in the future, if the psychology department is able to enroll 85 students into the program in the next three years, the program will be deemed a success. Gary Kiker, who is overseeing admissions for the program, explains their modest yet hopeful goals for future enrollment now that they are free of geographic limitations.

“We’ve set some very modest goals to begin with. So right off the bat, we’re hoping to have 20-25 students. But again, once you open it up online and can take students from all over the country, there’s no reason it couldn’t be upwards of 100 students,” Kiker said.

Serving Long-Distance

Because this is the first fully online bachelor’s degree-completion program, Kevin Van Lant,  associate professor of applied psychology, believes this program is an example for the university of how to better serve long-distance students. He also hopes that if this program receives accreditation in December, it will be easier for other programs to go through the accreditation process.

“[The program has] forced the university to begin to think through how do we support the online student, what services are going to be necessary for them, how do we attend to a student who may never set foot on campus,” Van Lant said. “The systems that have been a necessary part of that have really been developed since this program has been proposed.”