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HBU Launches Exciting New Degree Programs in 2016

The world has changed. Technology, multi-platform communication, and the growth of the Internet have created a world of fast-paced innovation, constant change, and ubiquitous competition. Organizations can no longer maintain a policy of stasis. Either they continually improve and adapt or they slowly fall behind and slide into a state of irrelevancy. This is as true of universities as it is of businesses and corporations. At HBU we embrace the opportunities this new world provides without turning our backs on the time-honored truths that have always been part of a Christian liberal arts education. In 2016, we seek to launch an exciting collection of new degree programs that directly address the needs of this changing world. These degrees are built upon our strong liberal arts core curriculum and forward our confessional mission that, in all things, Jesus Christ is Lord. Through these new degrees we wish to send graduates out into the world with the skills needed to succeed and the worldview to witness the love of Christ to all people. Our students will be equipped to teach, to heal, and to build the future economy.  In December the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approved HBU’s application to move to the next level and offer our first Doctoral program, a Doctorate in Education (EdD) in Executive Educational Leadership. Doctoral programs represent the highest degrees universities may award and are the pinnacle of achievement in university curriculum. This degree fulfills The Ten Pillars’ vision to Embrace the Challenge of Christian Graduate Education. It is also a first step in the process of creating more doctoral degrees in a variety of fields. In many ways, our move to the next level is the most exciting and significant development since HBU rejoined the NCAA and launched a Division I football program. Christ-centered doctoral degrees are critical in our mission to influence the culture for Christ because of how they train our future leaders. The launch of our EdD is the culmination of a campus-wide effort and speaks volumes about the possibilities for the future of HBU.

ONLINE PROGRAMS Another significant development in the expansion of our curriculum is the focus on the delivery of online for credit degree programs and non-credit certificate programs. The online delivery of courses and academic content has seen massive improvement and growth in the last decade. Because of the advance of technology and the codification of best practices over time, online programs now regularly equal and some exceed the academic effectiveness of traditional in-person programs. In many subject areas, online delivery is actually a more appropriate method because it effectively mirrors the reality of the work environment. HBU embraced a gradual process of online development by starting with offering a few courses and growing course offerings over a number of years. HBU currently offers over 60 online courses and five fully online degree programs. We learned the best ways to deliver online content and also how to integrate faith and learning and a sense of community in an online environment.

The expansion of our degree programs and our online delivery directly answer the entire Ten Pillars challenge.

We are fully prepared as a campus to expand our online offerings while maintaining the high quality face-to-face delivery of current degree programs.   We propose to expand both graduate and undergraduate online program offerings. Graduate programs in particular are an area of great growth in our current economy. But these programs are more than merely a response to the needs of the current job market. We believe they provide an opportunity to expand the HBU mission to a much larger audience than could be reached in a traditional in-person environment. Our current BBA in Management and MS in Human Resource Management and our proposed MS in Sports Management will be launched online and allow HBU to reach a much wider market of students who wish to be leaders in creating the new economy. All of our proposed online programs are Christ-centered and challenge our students to teach, to heal, and to build the future of Houston, the United States, and ultimately, the world at large.   We especially emphasize programs directed to the greater healthcare industry. Again, this is a missional project of HBU to graduate students with the skills to follow Christ and heal the sick in body, mind, and spirit. Furthermore, the healthcare industry is one of today’s fastest growing industries and is projected to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. HBU’s tier one quality nursing programs allows us to build on HBU’s successful reputation for providing top quality healthcare education. In May 2015, The School of Nursing and Allied Health received approval from SACSCOC to offer the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with three specific tracks: Wellness Management, Athletic Training, and Physical Education. This four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in KinesiologySport Management will prepare the graduate for a career in management of fitness centers or with intramural sports leagues. The degree we be offered in an online and traditional format and will afford students an internship opportunity based on their career goals. The School of Nursing and Allied Health is proposing a BA and MS in Healthcare Administration and three new BA programs in Kinesiology directed at the growing market.  At the core of a healthy society is a healthy family. Our proposed programs in Marriage and Family Studies and Psychology are designed to promote whole, Christ-centered individuals, marriages, and families. This is a grass roots approach to healing our society one person, one marriage and one family at a time. Both the Psychology and the Marriage and Family degrees allow for specialization in directed areas such as addiction and recovery, Christian counseling, crisis response, psychology, mediation, gerontology, sport psychology, developmental psychology, mediation and professional life coaching. Students may pursue a traditional psychology core curriculum or a marriage and family studies core curriculum and then specialize in their chosen area. At the graduate level a similar structure for degree programs in Pastoral Counseling and Human Services will be offered with additional specializations in human sexuality and military and veteran care and counseling. In addition, our current MAs in Psychology and Christian Counseling will be launched in a fully online and/or hybrid delivery.   We also will expand the number of online and traditional degrees offered in our School of Christian Thought. In addition to our current online Apologetics degree, we propose new degree programs including BAs in Christianity, Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, and Practical Theology to provide our high quality education in Christianity and Theology to church leaders around the world. Not only are these programs designed for future ministers, they are also directed at lay persons who desire a deeper engagement with scripture and theology for personal spiritual enrichment or because they want to more fully work in the mission of the church such as teaching Sunday School and other forms of Christian education. Also, the School of Christian Thought proposes additional graduate degrees: MAs in Theology, Christian Leadership and additional tracks of study in the Apologetics degree.   In addition to the programs that are for academic credit the University and the School of Christian Thought is also developing a series of certificate programs. The HBU Certificate of Study Programs are offered in partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, B&H Academic, WORDsearch Bible Software and Christian Thinkers Society. The benefits of a certificate program include the ability to personalize the curriculum, to select unique content, complete coursework in a brief period of time, and add immediate value to an individual’s life and career.  Perhaps most excitingly, we propose launching a Master of Divinity (MDiv) through a face-to-face instructional model. The MDiv is the traditional pre-professional degree for training ordained ministers. The Houston market is ripe for an MDiv that is both faithful to the truths of scripture and practical in its course of study.  Lastly, we propose to build on the success of our current online offerings in Education by expanding our current Master of Education degrees in Educational Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology, and School Counseling to online offerings. In addition, a Master of Education in Higher Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology, Counseling (Educational Psychology) and/ or Christian Studies is being developed for delivery in online and traditional formats. Few people have as deep and abiding an influence on our children as do teachers. These new educational programs will ensure that HBU’s commitment to quality and a Christian vision will continue to be a force for good in Texas schools.  The expansion of our degree programs and our online delivery directly answer the entire Ten Pillars challenge. Because the quality of an HBU education is so high, it is incumbent upon us to find ways to bring the opportunities of an HBU education to the greatest number of students we can. We hope through this holistic approach to education to position HBU in the most exciting and important areas in our economy and to influence our world for Christ. A holistic approach will enable us to meet the demands of an ever-changing world — while not compromising excellence, academic integrity, or HBU’s Christian distinction.  The University is diligently preparing the necessary documentation to have all programs approved by the regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Once approved, these programs should be available as early as fall 2016. Some programs are currently approved, some are currently under review by SACSCOC and documentation for others is being prepared for submission to SACSCOC.

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