GREENVILLE, S.C. (courtesy today.bju.edu) — The School of Education announced that it is expanding its name to the School of Education and Human Services. The human services aspect comes from the new division in the School of Education — the Division of Educational, Child and Family Services.
Educational Studies Introduction
The School of Education has existed at Bob Jones University since 1947. “When you think of School of Education, you think of teacher preparation, which is what we have traditionally done,” said Dr. Brian Carruthers, dean of the School of Education and Human Services.
While developing teachers is important to the School of Education, it recently added two nontraditional (teaching in a non-classroom setting) majors: bachelor of science in educational studies and bachelor of science in child development. There are 69 students this semester in the non-traditional programs.
“These are students who still want to work with children. They want to work with families. They want to work with youth, but they don’t want to do it in the confines of a classroom,” Carruthers said.
Background to Educational Studies
Last year, the Division of Educational, Child and Family Services went through a division review. “One of the things that we noticed about our programs was that a lot of students didn’t know about them, and prospective students couldn’t find them,” said Dr. Julie Hartman, chair of the Division of Educational, Child and Family Services. “If we’re going to offer programs that focus on non-educational niches, people have got to know where to look.”
The division review proposed the name change to raise awareness of the nontraditional education programs.
The School of Education began researching nontraditional education majors in 2010. It noticed that some students wanted to work with children but didn’t like the classroom experience, weren’t interested in pursuing licensure and couldn’t make the jump to helping kids. As a result, juniors and seniors were leaving the University because they felt like they weren’t in the right place.
Initially, this caused the School of Education to rethink its program requirements. “It’s kind of weird when you get a whole bunch of licensed educators around the table talking about non-licensure,” Hartman said. The initial solution was to create an education program that had lighter requirements.
About 2015, Carruthers visited Arizona State University and discovered one of its newly-launched programs, educational studies. The program offered a core of education paired with other disciplines. This resulted in an educationally driven, interdisciplinary program. BJU soon launched its own educational studies program.
Educational Studies Today
The program enrollment expanded from two students to 70 within a year as students from other majors landed on educational studies, fulfilling their desire to work with children. “I have a feeling that there are students in other majors who are not in the right major, and they’re waiting to hear about this,” Hartman said.
“Wherever you find learning or educational services offered, you need an educator, but not necessarily a licensed educator,” Hartman said. The School of Education and Human Services has since found several areas needing non-licensed educators including the zoo, children’s museums, hospitals and after school literacy centers. “What we have found is the more we look, the greater the opportunities, but we haven’t been looking before because we’re licensed educators,” Hartman said.
Educational Studies Student
One student interested in nontraditional education is Zac Davis, a sophomore in educational studies with a concentration in community arts. While Davis enjoyed learning and sharing that information, he didn’t want to be a classroom teacher. Davis wanted to work in a museum or art gallery.
While many museum educators choose to pursue a degree in history or art, Davis went an alternate route. “A lot of history degrees focus on the research aspect and figuring things out whereas with educational studies you get more of that aspect of telling people, explaining things to them and knowing how to say it in a way that makes sense,” Davis said.
He has taken a blend of education, history and psychology courses. “There’s a versatility there that I don’t think a lot of other majors have,” Davis said.
Davis’s tract is an example of what Hartman tells her students. “Trust your calling,” she said. “Maybe there isn’t a program that goes straight down the line, but there’s a way for you to address the calling that God has given you.”
For more information about the School of Education and Human Services, visit education.bju.edu.