In an ongoing effort to offer majors relevant to the needs of today’s workforce, the Bethany Lutheran College (BLC) Board of Regents is pleased to announce new bachelor of arts majors in computer science and special education, a certificate program in paralegal studies, and a preprimary education endorsement.
The computer science major at BLC is designed to provide a broad understanding of computer systems and the software that runs on those systems. Bethany’s computer science major is based in the liberal arts, wherein students are encouraged to take a variety of courses from other disciplines. This grounding in the liberal arts helps students to be innovative thinkers, problem solvers, and have experiences far beyond the confines of a traditional computer science degree.
John Sehloff, coordinator of the computer science major, stated, “A computer science major at Bethany has been discussed for some time. With encouragement from the administration, and a strong job market for computer science graduates, we built the program to offer a full array of computer science courses.”
Education professors, Drs. Carrie Pfeifer and Alanna Lienig, developed the new special education major.
Pfeifer explained, “There is a teacher shortage in the United States and in Minnesota and a critical shortage in special education. In conducting a feasibility study for the major, there was a consistent request for a degree in special education. Bethany has a history of training highly qualified and competent educators that are greatly sought after for their professional excellence and Christian compassion. In a field such as special education these qualities are even more important.”
The Legal Studies (Pre-Law) Department is adding a paralegal certificate to the program. The paralegal certificate program includes a comprehensive and intensive educational experience for students and provides them with the required skills to begin a paralegal career in a variety of areas such as family law, criminal law, business/corporate law, or real estate law. Students will gain knowledge in many areas including court structure, legal procedures, client interviewing, legal research and writing, and document preparation.
Sara Edwards JD, coordinator of the legal studies major, says, “For students who plan on working in a law-related field, the paralegal certificate provides a practical, marketable tool to assist in finding employment. Earning a certificate gives students a strategic advantage when applying for paralegal and legal assistant positions. For those who intend to go to law school, a paralegal certificate will help when applying, and assists students who intend to work while attending law school.”
Bethany’s Vice President for Academics, Dr. Eric Woller, mentioned that a certificate program is a new venture for Bethany. “In most cases legal studies students will pursue this certificate, but any student could obtain a certificate if they desired. In addition, the certificate is also available as a standalone offering for those choosing to enhance their employability. We hope to offer more certificates in the future.”
The Education Department has created an endorsement program for pre-primary grades. This endorsement is an add-on to K-6 licensure, giving teachers the training and required permission to teach ages three through sixth grade. With the advent of funded voluntary pre-kindergarten in Minnesota public schools, the need for trained and licensed teachers is essential.
The Bethany Faculty Assembly and Board of Regents have approved both the special education major and the pre-primary endorsement, and these new ventures are now in the pending approval stage with the Professional Educator and Standards Licensing Board.