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Officials Announce New Program Name and a New Major and Degree

June 14, 2006

Category: Academics, Evening & Graduate, Students, Teacher Education

Dr. Edith BolickOn June 1, Catawba College's Lifelong Learning Program became the School of Evening and Graduate Studies and Dr. Edith Bolick '70 became its Dean. Along with its new title, the School has a new degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Education (B.A.E.) degree with a major in Birth-Kindergarten (B-K) Education.

According to Catawba College Vice President and Academic Dean, Dr. Barbara Hetrick, the Birth to Kindergarten program has been discussed for the past several years, but "the timing was not right until recently."   Several College Trustees, including Drs. Shirley Ritchie and Martha West, are enthusiastically supporting the program as a way to meet a serious need for early childhood educators in the Salisbury-Rowan area.

Dr. Barbara HetrickHetrick explained that the new program is a partnership with the Associate of Applied Science degree program in early childhood education at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC). RCCC graduates will transfer 64 credit hours to Catawba to complete a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Education degree. This spring, in fact, approximately 50 students graduated from RCCC with Associate of Applied Science degrees in early childhood education and would be eligible to enroll in Catawba's B.A.E. program.

Hetrick explained that yet another major factor contributed to the College's decision to offer the new degree at this time — the launch of the N.C. Lottery. Funding from that enterprise is designated for education, with an emphasis on four-year-olds through the state's 4 for 4 Program. Emphasis placed in that program is also expected to enhance salaries for personnel in B-K facilities.

She also cited the institution's long-term relationship with Partners in Learning, which is located adjacent to Catawba's campus, and the opportunities that it will afford for those in the B-K program to obtain hands-on experience.

"This new program will serve the community and help improve education in this general region," Hetrick said. "Here's a way for us to connect more closely with the community college while expanding our program offerings without the incursion of major expenses."

Hetrick credited Dr. Lyn Boulter, a Catawba College professor of psychology, for developing the new B-K program and its budget. She also lauded the faculty in the Teacher Education Department, under the leadership of Dr. James Stringfield, for their willingness to support the new major. A new faculty member, Dr. Rhonda Truitt, who has been employed by the Alamance-Burlington School System as director of elementary education and Title I, will be joining Catawba's Education Department this fall as an assistant professor.

Regarding the name change from Lifelong Learning to the School of Evening and Graduate Studies, Hetrick noted that the new title allows for more flexibility and will facilitate future additions of other programs which would be "a good fit with Catawba's mission."

For more details on the new Bachelor of Arts Education degree at Catawba College, contact the School of Evening and Graduate Studies at or via phone at (704) 637-4772.

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