UNA Pressroom

Una Finds Success With New Interdisciplinary Studies Degree

Feb. 06, 2012

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

FLORENCE, Ala. - Since fall of 2010, the Office of Professional and Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of North Alabama has found success in its new bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies by bringing approximately 65 students into the programand opening doors for both traditional and nontraditional students. Dr. Craig Robertson, director of the BIS program and chair of the Department of Sociology, said the new degree focuses on individuals and allows students to build their own academic program organized around an area of emphasis, which could include art, business, health, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, technology and women's studies. The degree in interdisciplinary studies is designed for nontraditional students who have returned to college after a long absence in order to complete a bachelor's degreethat complements their occupation and previous work experiences, or to advance to a higher standing in their current field. The degree is also aimed at traditional students whose academic needs and plans after college are not offered as a major or minor atUNA, according to Robertson. "Although the program is sometimes used as a vehicle for adult (nontraditional) learners, it is also a program for traditional-aged students," Robertson said. "The flexibilityof the program is an asset for the adult learners and traditional students, but also an asset for (the university) in attracting students to UNA for studies that we don't already have a traditional major or minor for." Robertson said his office is also piloting a new project that will be available in the fall called the Prior Learning Assessment. This course will be taught by Dr. Robert Koch, director of the Center for Writing Excellence, director of the Academic Success Center and assistant professor of English. The PLA will allow students to develop a writing portfolio that is organized around their work experiences and learning outcomesfrom classes. UNA will also unveil a new master's degree in professional studies in the fall, which will have an interdisciplinary approach for traditional and nontraditional students.There are three areas which graduate students will be able to focus on within the degree program, including community development, security and safety leadership, and information technology. For more information, contact Dr. Craig Robertson at 256-765-5003 or email ctrobertson@una.edu.