The final college being introduced as part of CSP’s six-part realignment series is the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences. Take a look back and explore each of the previously featured colleges below:
- College of Business & Technology
- College of Education & Humanities
- College of Health & Science
- College of Kinesiology
- College of Nursing
In the final installation of the series, we dive into the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences. Throughout the realignment, the structure of this college will remain static. However, college leadership led a complete overhaul of several high impact programs in the past year to ensure future relevance. The emphasis moving forward will be remaining nimble to meet the goals and aspirations of a student base that values career preparedness and the ability to capably serve their communities.
College Leadership: Michael Walcheski, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences
- Joined CSP in 1998
- Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision, Western Michigan University
- M.A., Counseling Psychology, Western Michigan University
- B.A., Elementary Education/Director of Christian Education, Concordia University, St. Paul
A Concordia graduate himself, Dr. Walcheski was chosen to lead the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences after its inception in spring 2020. Before returning to CSP in a faculty role in 1998, Dr. Walcheski spent 15 years in parish settings in support of Christian education, family life, and youth ministry and counseling.
His 24 years of service at CSP have been highlighted by his nationally recognized expertise in family science. Dr. Walcheski is also the co-author of numerous publications, including journal articles, training monographs, and books.
College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences – Academic Programs
The overarching focus of the college is to equip students with “the ability to transform their personal, professional, and community environments in a way that centers tenets of the Christian faith, advances servant leadership, empowers people, and addresses human needs”. Academic programming within the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences consists of four distinctive concentrations: psychology, sociology, criminal justice, and family science.
At the core of CSP’s psychology and sociology degree offerings is the desire to equip students with lifelong interdisciplinary skills for success no matter the career path they choose. Rewarding, patient-facing careers for graduates include mental health counseling, social and community service, case management, and more. Psychology and sociology degrees at Concordia include:
- Psychology BA (with online option)
- Psychology BS
- Sociology BA
The criminal justice wing of the college works to meet the demands of the shifting landscape of the criminal justice system in the United States. Offering both foundational and advanced degrees, students will be well-prepared to positively impact the communities in which they’ll serve. Criminal Justice degrees at CSP include:
- Criminal Justice BA (with online option)
- Criminal Justice Leadership MA
- Human Services: Forensic Behavioral Health MA
- Human Services: Forensic Behavioral Health Certificate
- Human Services: Trauma, Resilience, and Self-Care Strategies MA
- Human Services: Trauma, Resilience, and Self-Care Strategies Certificate
Family science is one of the strong suits of the College of Human Services and Behavioral Sciences. Applicable skills in scientific thinking and the understanding of human thought, behavior, and familial interaction are the focus of the degree offerings. From there, students will have the opportunity to delve into any number of popular career areas such as family therapy, child development, social work, and more. Family science degrees at CSP include:
- Child Learning and Development BA
- Family Science BA (with online option)
- Family Science MA
- Parent Coaching Certification
The dedication of the college’s faculty to provide valuable and adaptable degrees enables graduates to make a lasting impact in whatever area they pursue.
“Our faculty are available and easily accessible to current and prospective students. The faculty are committed to our students’ academic and professional aspirations. We look forward to seeing them succeed,” said Dr. Walcheski. “Essentially, speaking with students about not only ‘what you can do with a Concordia degree’, but also pointing them to real-life opportunities of employment and career options. Further, students are constantly encouraged to connect with guest speakers to seek networking, volunteering, and internship opportunities.”
Challenges (5-10 years)
Continuing to grow enrollment and increase engagement within high impact degree programs are among the challenges moving forward for the college. As with all programs, the college faced an abundance of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to vast societal shifts.
“In the College of Human Services and Behavioral Sciences, we face the challenges of modern society and the rapid changes occurring,” noted Dr. Walcheski. “We believe our college is well equipped to address these challenges and have been leaders in doing so. We continue to work with our CSP partners, advisory boards, and community stakeholders who help inform our curriculum initiatives with current employment trends and career readiness skill sets.”
The goal of the college’s high impact degrees is to offer a core group of nationally renowned, sought-after degrees. High impact degrees include psychology, sociology, trauma & resilience, family science, and parent coaching. CSP’s action plan to fulfill that goal and overcome that challenge is already well underway. Each high impact degree was recently refreshed to ensure they’re relevant, engaging, and meet the needs of today.
Enrollment growth remains an ever-present challenge for any higher education institution that plans to continue its upward momentum. The college’s commitment to its mission of bringing valuable degrees to the table and continued refinement of its offerings will draw future prospective students to CSP. Additional efforts such as the creation of a virtual commons and constant communication with students will both help avoid stagnation as well.
Opportunities (5-10 years)
Developing new, desirable degree programs and furthering partnerships that enhance current degrees are just two of the many opportunities for the college in the coming years. The college is well-positioned to have a future defined by advancement and growth.
College leadership is partnering with the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) to create a degree benefit that’s the first of its kind in the nation. Every CSP student who earns a Family and Parent Coaching Certificate will receive a badge designated from NCFR as well. The badge credential provides additional value and professional opportunity for those who are pursuing the certification and adds visibility to the program for those who are not familiar with it.
Another opportunity being pursued by the college is the development of future academic programming. A point of emphasis is the addition of more graduate-level degrees, a point that will soon be addressed. An MA in Clinical Counseling is on the drawing table, at the beginning of its development process. Dr. Walcheski stressed that cohesive partnerships both within and outside the organization are vital to its future success.
“We will strengthen our relationships with external stakeholders and partners, for example, community colleges, human service agencies, faith-based organizations, criminal justice agencies, mental health facilities, and non-profit organizations,” he said. “There will also be continued collaboration within our college to best serve students and work with them as they pursue their degrees and become successful in their careers. We believe our collaboration as a college will continue to help us grow and will continue to open new and exciting opportunities.”
The past decade has seen a minor fluctuation in traditional undergraduate enrollment within the college. After dipping slightly from 2017-2018, psychology is seeing a revitalization with a large influx of new students, with sociology remaining consistent throughout the decade.
While enrollment remains strong in non-traditional undergraduate degrees, areas of growth do present themselves. Engagement within these programs has seen a slight downturn, though core programming has remained strong (psychology, family science), and even grown (criminal justice).
The final chart displays the successful launches of two graduate degrees and the stability of a third. Although enrollment reached a peak in 2019, future growth is expected and all three degrees appear to be on the rebound, possibly as soon as fall 2022.
The Go-Forward Strategy for the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences
While the alignment and structure of the college will go forward in the same fashion, year-long efforts to retool high impact programs have strengthened the college moving forward. Leadership and faculty are both aligned in their goals for the launch of the fall 2022 semester which features the newly realigned colleges and are prepared to assist in that transition.
With a commitment to offering new programs and partnering with industry leaders, the College of Human Services & Behavioral Sciences will continue to grow.