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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,
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% of all students at each of the member institutions are graduate students. At Shepherd, graduate students remain less than 5% 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 will be implemented in fall 2012. 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 (MA-CI) started enrolling students in 2003-2004. Current research requirements include research papers and fieldwork with a required thesis and written comprehensive exam.