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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New Mexico State's health college offers new degree-completion program

New Mexico students interested in community health and social service careers now have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Human and Community Services degree through a new distance education, degree-completion program at New Mexico State University.

degree in the College of Health and Social Services will be offered for the first time this fall. The degree-completion program builds on students' first 64 credit hours completed at branch or community colleges and includes 23 credit hours of core requirements, as well as the completion of two minors.

"Everyone's story will be unique. We expect this degree to appeal to people who are already building a community health and social service career or to people interested in transferring their skill set to another career," said Jeffrey Brandon, dean of the College of Health and Social Services. "We want to help students who, for whatever reason, cannot take classes on the main campus."

The degree program is designed primarily for non-traditional, location-bound students, Brandon said. Courses will be taught using various distance education tools including Web-based instruction. The fall semester will allow the enrollment of up to 25 students to begin the program.

"The degree is a vehicle that will allow these students, those who are working or otherwise occupied on a full-time basis, to build on prior course work and earn a bachelor's degree." Brandon said. "This is the university's first undergraduate degree being offered through distance education."

For the first required minor, students may choose community health, environmental and occupational health or U.S.-Mexico border health. The second required minor will be chosen from counseling and educational psychology, education, family and consumer science and gerontology.

Brandon said an advisory group with representatives from across the campus has been established to guide the program in its first years. Larry Olsen, associate dean of the College of Health and Social Services, will serve as the program's department head. A part-time program recruiter and facilitator will work from the university's Santa Fe office.

Brandon said many of the 21 community colleges across New Mexico have been requesting a program like this for some time. An interest survey at the Dona Ana Branch Community College in 2001 showed that 79 percent of the 254 respondents were very or somewhat interested in the program concept. Brandon said the college will work with the branch campuses of New Mexico State University to offer general education courses that students interested in the program do not already have.

For more information about the program, contact the College of Health and Social Services at (505) 646-3526 or visit www.nmsu.edu/CHSS/bhcs.

Julie M. Hughes
July 2, 2002