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About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies History

Shepherd University was founded in 1871 as a normal school and has become a university with graduate studies at the master’s level. Since 2003, the Division of Graduate Studies at Shepherd University has provided five graduate programs with the first program enrolling students in the 2003-2004 year, and the newest program enrolling students in the 2007-2008 year. The addition of graduate studies at a university with a long history of undergraduate programs requires a dedication toward creating a graduate culture that is fostered by faculty, staff, and students.

Graduate Studies was granted at Shepherd University because of:

  1. The need for graduate education in the Eastern West Virginia Panhandle that was based on a liberal arts education and at a public university price,
  2. The need for current professionals in education and business to improve their skills sets,
  3. To help improve the economic development in the region with advanced degrees for those in specific professions, and,
  4. Provide a graduate level education for those seeking life-long learning and re-certification.

The emphasis of graduate studies at Shepherd has remained focused on those four primary reasons with the development of specific master’s degrees in education and business, and graduate level continuing education for those who require re-recertification. Planning for three graduate programs in the future also remain focused on those primary reasons.

The emphasis at Shepherd University remains focused on a liberal arts undergraduate mission as indicated in its recent acceptance into the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), where traditionally less than 10 percent of all students at each of the member institutions are graduate students. At Shepherd, graduate students remain less than 5 percent of the total student population. Therefore, creating a graduate culture throughout the university has and will continue to be a significant transformational process in the structure of the organization that is still predominately undergraduate oriented. New policies and procedures that help guide graduate studies are continuously in development to ensure graduate studies operations run effectively and efficiently within the undergraduate culture.

Graduate Studies were originally administered from what is now the School of Education and Professional Studies since the Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction was the original graduate program. From that first graduate program housed in a specific school, the configuration of graduate degrees and graduate courses for re-certification has grown to include all four schools of the university and supported by 15 disciplines. The new configuration for graduate studies includes the Division of Graduate Studies for graduate degree programs, and the Division of Continuing Education that includes graduate courses for re-certification.  Through the re-organization of an associate vice president’s position, the position Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs was implemented in fall 2011. This new position addresses the special requirements of graduate and accredited programs and oversees articulation agreements with community colleges regarding cooperative degree programs. The leadership for all graduate studies at Shepherd has also grown from a part-time graduate director to a full-time Dean of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education.

Current graduate programs at Shepherd University are the following in their order of student enrollment and current graduate degree research requirements:

  1. The Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction (M.A.-CI) started enrolling students in 2003-2004. Current research requirements include research papers and fieldwork with a required thesis and written comprehensive exam. An endorsement in Multi-Categorical Special Education began enrolling students in summer 2013.
  2. The Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) started in 2005-2006 with research requirements that include research papers and group research projects. Currently student have the option of choosing an applied research project or internship as their capstone or culminating course in the graduate program.
  3. The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) was originally a collaborative program with Marshall University until 2005-2006. In 2006-2007, Shepherd started a separate M.A.T. with research requirements in the field, a culminating portfolio project, and required national examinations for teacher certification.
  4. The Master of Arts in College Student Development Administration (M.A.-CSDA) started enrolling students in the summer of 2006 and requires research in the field as well as major comprehensive examinations.
  5. The Master of Music in Music Education (M.M.M.E.) started enrolling students in the summer of 2007. Current research requirements include research papers and major music productions. Students complete a thesis or final project and an oral examination before a faculty committee. NOTE: This program will be phased out and discontinued during the 2016-2017 academic year.

*A graduate certificate program in Appalachian Studies began enrolling and accepting students in fall 2014.

**There are currently plans underway for additional graduate degree and certificate programs. Check our web pages and the catalog for the most current information.

Graduate Studies Vision

Shepherd University Graduate Studies aspires to be a responsive and accessible provider of quality educational programs. We are committed to continually broadening the scope of learning, academic discourse, discovery, and innovations, while increasing global connections for scholars, researchers, and practitioners.

Graduate Studies Mission

Shepherd University Graduate Studies is a diverse community of educators, scholars and learners committed to promoting accessibility and excellence in higher education, leading to advanced mastery of disciplinary knowledge and skills.

Graduate Studies Core Values

Committed to excellence, Shepherd University and Graduate Studies and Continuing Education (GSCE) embrace the following five core values:

Learning
Shepherd University creates a community of learners who integrate teaching, scholarship, and learning into their lives. In order to create challenging, relevant experiences, inside and outside of the classroom, the University continually evaluates and assesses student learning. We recognize and accommodate diverse learning styles and perspectives necessary for global understanding.

GSCE cultivates in students a lifelong desire to learn, with respect and understanding at an ever-increasing level for knowledge and cultures of the past, civic engagement, professional and personal ethics, and place in today’s global society.

Engagement
Shepherd University fosters environments in which students, faculty, staff, and members of the community engage with each other to form mutually beneficial relationships. We believe that meaningful engagement, with ideas and with people, promotes deep learning, and nurtures critical thought.

GSCE is committed to engaging students in creative and scholarly endeavors both inside and outside the classroom. This is exemplified by faculty in the integration of new ideas and alternative approaches in their teaching, innovative learning activities, and continued professional development.

Integrity
Shepherd University strives for an environment of honesty and fairness in its actions. University officials seek input from students, faculty, and staff and make informed and objective decisions. We expect all members of the community to act in accordance with this value.

GSCE fosters a strong commitment to provide programs that allow students to achieve the best education for each individual’s particular talents, interests, and goals in an environment that emphasizes service to students.

Accessibility
Shepherd University provides services to all qualified students. Our staff and faculty are available to students and are committed to respecting and meeting individual needs. University governance and budgeting structures reflect our commitment to transparent processes and public access to information.

GSCE will identify and develop opportunities for the financial support of student learning and opportunities that meet the needs of adult learners, certified professionals, and community members.

Community
Shepherd University comprises a community that includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, and involved citizens. We meet the needs of this community through assessment, development, and implementation of innovative programs and initiatives. We strive to create a safe environment based on mutual respect and acceptance of differences.

GSCE will identify and develop opportunities for creating community partnerships to enhance the educational experience of our students

Graduate Studies and Continuing Education Strategic Plan