Brian Ralph

WPU School of Professional Studies Provides Accelerated Degrees for Working Adults

Work deadlines, social functions, doctor’s visits, and a child’s parent teacher conference can quickly fill up the schedule of a working adult. There seems to be no time for going to college and earning a degree.

But, through William Peace University’s (WPU) School of Professional Studies (SPS), working adults can take non-traditional courses that make dreams of a degree possible. 

WPU’s SPS offers an accelerated degree program with laser-focused curriculum so that adults coming into school with previous college credits can earn a degree in as fast as a year. 

“The SPS offers a supporting academic community that can empower adults to take the next step in their career confidently,” said Lori Holcomb McClaren, Ph.D., Executive Director of the School of Professional Studies.

The SPS was created in 2009 to serve both men and women adult students through evening classes. It first offered in person courses for bachelors of arts in business administration and human services. 

The program hoped to bring in more WPU students while also meeting a community need. 

Adult education is a growing demand in the U.S. About two-thirds of U.S. residents ages 25 to 64 will need college degrees, certificates, or industry-recognized certifications, by 2025 to meet economic and social demands, according to the adult-education nonprofit Lumina Foundation. 

After it’s creation, the SPS quickly grew, adding more majors as each year passed by. At that time, the SPS operated as an independent department within the University with its own administrative staff.  

However, in 2014, the SPS was mainstreamed within the University. This shift enabled advising and admissions resources to be centralized for the entire University.  

Now, the SPS offers a full schedule of courses for 10 degree programs and six educational licensure programs across the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students can take either seven or 14 week-long courses. 

“The faculty teaching the courses are experts in their fields,” McClaren said. “Education courses are taught by seasoned teachers. Also, there is a former police chief and a judge teaching criminal justice courses. We have outstanding faculty.”

Many courses offered are online and asynchronous, meaning nine out of ten of the degrees can be completed fully online. Education is the only program that requires in person courses.  

“I am excited for SPS to continue to grow the majors it offers and the number of students it reaches,” McClaren said. “SPS strives to meet the workforce demands and provide adult students with the education they need.

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