CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University routinely sets enrollment records.
But there is some other growth going on around the campus. While the university is investing in undergraduate programs, offerings for graduate students are on the rise.
“We really see a growth opportunity in the graduate area,” said Janice Supplee, vice president for marketing and communications. “We are looking really, what are the emerging fields, what are the degrees where we are seeing growth and seeing where we can add programs in those areas. It’s really part of an overall strategy, the university looking at where do we go from here.”
For a number of years, Cedarville’s only graduate program was the master of education. Ironically, that program isn’t offered anymore, but myriad others have popped up.
The university has added an MBA program as well as an MS in nursing during the last several years. Since that time — the 2014-15 academic year — the number of graduate students has grown from 354 to 520 this academic year.
“We’ve grown another 200 students in about five or six years,” Supplee said.
CU isn’t just stopping at adding programs. Within the general MBA program, specializations in operations management, cybersecurity management, business analytics, health care administration, and innovation and entrepreneurship are being offered.
The innovation program had 15 applications in two weeks.
“So many corporations, businesses are looking for people who have training in innovation,” Supplee said.
Cedarville did the same with the MSN. Specializations include pediatric nurse practitioner (which has a licensure component), a leadership track, a nurse education track, global public health, and family nurse practitioner (which also has a licensure component).
Those allows “professionals to really key in on an area that is of the greatest interest to them,” Supplee said.
The master of athletic training program goes live in the summer. CU previously offered athletic training at the undergraduate level for a couple decades, but the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) is mandating that all professional athletic training programs in the U.S. transition to an entry-level master’s by 2025.
CU is offering that in conjunction with an undergrad degree in a five year program that has three years of undergrad and two years at the master’s level, allowing the student to graduate with both degrees. There is also the option for a graduate from another university to enroll at CU for the two-year master’s program.
A physician assistant program is under development, Supplee said, and the university hopes to begin enrolling in May 2023.
“We’re excited to get that one on the ground,” Supplee said, adding that a new program in theology is going to the trustees in May.
“We’re always looking at what’s the next thing,” she said.
The graduate programs are offered online, which about half of the students take advantage of, Supplee said.
“It makes it possible for people who really want to get a graduate degree, they can’t quit their job and they can’t move (to get a degree),” Supplee said, adding that many students want to study from a Christian Biblical perspective.
The only way to do that may be online, Supplee said.
Regardless of the type of program, there are three questions that must be considered before a program will be added.
Can it be sustainable? Is it marketable? Is it quality?
For Cedarville University, so far the answer has been yes.