Education - Page 8 - Programs, from page 1

- Page 8
Programs, from page 1
coursework. In some houses, the clients are supervised while cooking and performing other activities of daily living while others need more care and the staff completes the tasks for them.

“I learned about the challenges of living with and caring for adults with disabilities,” says Ellis, who planned a move to Seattle in March to work at a clinic for children with autism. “I also learned how rewarding it can be.”

While Ellis spent the year following her graduation from Stevenson University at a Target house while enrolled in the McDaniel College master’s program, undergraduates in any major at McDaniel also may apply to be part of a five-year accelerated program that also puts them in a community living situation following their senior year. Like those at Stevenson, they take graduate courses during their senior year that fulfill both undergraduate and graduate requirements, and finish the master’s program in one additional year. The houses have two community living managers, one in the first year of the master’s program, and one who is part of the general master’s program and resides in the home for a second year.

“It’s a big responsibility for someone right out of college,” Zirpoli says. “Most rise to the occasion and experience huge growth.”

The program prepares students for students with other non-profit organizations in the human services field. Some go on to pursue doctorate degrees, Zirpoli adds.

“For me, the McDaniel program was life changing,” Ellis says. “I don’t feel I would have the same opportunities or be as prepared for them if I hadn’t done this program. It was a really incredible experience.”

With the world more competitive than ever, other collegiate programs across the region are offering accelerated opportunities for students wanting to complete study at a faster pace.

At the University of Baltimore, for example, students may enroll in up to three graduate accounting courses (nine hours) while an undergrad, if the grade point average is 3.5 or above and prerequisite requirements are met (they also pay undergraduate rates). These students are part of the accounting honors program, which prepares them for the accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree.

“We want students to graduate not only with a degree but also with a dream of what their future careers will be,” says Jan Williams, Ph.D., CPA, CGMA, associate professor of accounting and director of the accounting honors program at the University of Baltimore. “They focus on their first job, but also where they will be in the field in 10 or 20 years.”

The program, which dates back to 1986, exposes students to the industry through site visits and field trips to accounting firms and accounting organizations including the American Institute of CPAs in New York and a global accounting experience at Oxford University and visits to the “big four” accounting firms in London.

“We are trying to give them a feel, taste for the industry,” says Williams. “They talk to everyone from new hires to managing partners in these firms.”

The accelerated program also enables students to enroll in internship courses for credit at the graduate level, providing hands-on experience in accounting.

The University of Baltimore also offers an accounting certificate program for people with degrees in other fields wanting to change careers. The program provides 24 to 30 hours of study and prepares students to sit for the CPA exam. Students may accomplish this in one year of full-time class work or through part-time evening study. The graduate program attracts students desiring employment in the field like forensic accounting and internal auditing but not desiring a master’s degree.

Graduate courses count 1.5 times toward the 150-hour requirement for CPA licensure, Williams adds.

At Salisbury University, many students enroll in the accelerated master’s in business administration (MBA) program. The accelerated track runs in seven-week semesters. If a student enrolls in a combined five classes for two seven-week semesters and then completes the same progression again, he will finish with a MBA in one year. Those taking one class for each semester will need two years.

The accelerated program is offered fully or partially online, also referred to as a hybrid program. Salisbury first offered this accelerated option last fall, and the enrolled students are expected to graduate this spring along with the traditional MBA master’s students who enrolled a year earlier.

“Many people just want to get in and want to get out,” says Yvonne Downie Hanley, director of the MBA program at Salisbury University. “Many take time off of work and get it done.”

Some enroll to advance in their current positions, while others change careers or enroll following military service. Some prerequisites are required, including courses in accounting, economics, production and operations management, and finance. These may be completed online or at Salisbury, Hanley says.

More and more students are pursuing the MBA from other fields, Hanley says. Historically students held undergraduate degrees in business, but today many were history, English, and even archeology majors.

The online accelerated program was created in response to marketplace demands, says Hanley who also serves as an advisor to online students.

The online component includes a consultant project for students who are partnered with companies and help them solve business problems. This semester, some students are partnered with firms outside of Maryland, including in Michigan and Illinois.

“To continue, we have to be more flexible and offer convenience,” she explains, noting it requires forward thinking from professors who must change their mindsets in planning courses to include video lectures and provide transcripts. •

The benefits of accelerated study

Cost Savings – Students enroll in graduate coursework while an undergraduate and pay undergraduate rates for those courses.

Course Credit – graduate coursework taken in the undergraduate senior year applies toward both degrees.

Time – Accelerated master’s study can trim as much as one year off the time needed to complete requirements. In some cases, semesters are shortened to enable completion of more coursework in the same amount of time as traditional programs.

Flexibility – Often accelerated master’s programs include an online component enabling students to complete coursework without needing to travel to a school’s campus.

Access – Online accelerated master’s programs can give students access to schools located beyond a reasonable traveling distance. •