Catawba College Offers Three New Graduate Programs in Response to COVID-19

Catawba College has launched three new graduate programs for the fall semester in business management, sport management, and clinical mental health counseling, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges and barriers over the last two months – not ...

Catawba College has launched three new graduate programs for the fall semester in business management, sport management, and clinical mental health counseling, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges and barriers over the last two months – not just for our world, but for our own Catawba College community," said Dr. Jared R. Tice, Senior Vice President for the College Experience and Dean of Students. "However, challenges and barriers also present opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and acceleration of new curricular and co-curricular endeavors. By engaging in these graduate programs, Catawba is actively answering its call to serve and lead in critical ways at a critical time in our history."

Dr. Tice said that although the programs were many years in the making, the College accelerated them over the last month, with a coordinated effort led by Dr. Constance Rogers-Lowery, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Jim Hand, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance; and Dr. Eric Hake, Dean of the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business, in concert with faculty program directors, the Office of Admissions, Marketing/Public Relations, and the Department of Athletics.

The acceleration came "in response to faculty, academic and administrative leaders, and coaches absorbing the frustration and sadness of our senior spring sport student-athletes having their seasons cancelled and the understanding the uncertainty the economic downturn will have on all of our new graduates at Catawba and broader community," Tice said.

The graduate programs include:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in General Management 
    Ralph W. Ketner School of Business

    The Ketner MBA offers a 33-hour fully online curriculum in a student cohort model allowing full-time students to complete the program of study in a calendar year (Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021).

    To learn more about the Ketner MBA, please visit For more information, please contact Dr. Eric Hake, Dean of the Ketner School of Business,

  • Master of Sport ManagementSchool of Health Sciences and Human Performance
    This 36-hour curriculum face-to-face, student cohort model will be delivered over 21 months and allows graduate students to actively engage in premier sports properties and venues throughout the region and country.

    To learn more, please visit For more information, please contact Dr. Duane Aagaard, Associate Professor and MSSM Program Director,

  • Master of Health Science in Clinical Mental Health CounselingSchool of Health Sciences and Human Performance
    This is a 60-credit hour fully online curriculum allowing graduates, upon passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE), the ability to apply to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (NCBLCMHC) and become Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associates (LCMHCA).

    To learn more, please visit For more information, please contact Dr. Chad Betters, Assistant Professor and CMHC Program Director,

    Students may apply to one or more of the graduate programs at
    Apply Now

Along with the application, the following requirements are required for all three programs:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  • Submission of official transcripts from each college or university attended.
  • Presentation of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 combined hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework earned from any institution or combination of institutions prior to enrollment.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A minimum 500-word essay describing the student's desire to pursue this graduate degree at Catawba College.

The tuition cost for all three programs is $599.00 per credit hour throughout the program. Please address admissions questions to Alycia Parsons, Assistant Director of Admissions for Transfer and Non-Traditional Student Populations,

Dr. Tice said, "We encourage current students, alumni, and the broader community to take advantage of these new academic offerings as we continue to expand our Catawba Experience, grounded in our Mission and Values, to better serve our students, our community, our region, and our world."

Larry W. Leckonby, Director of Athletics, said that the initiative offers an opportunity to graduating spring season student-athletes to continue their education, while having a chance to finish their athletic career at Catawba College next spring. It can potentially compliment a student-athlete's extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA.

"It could also offer an opportunity for some future Sport Management graduate students to obtain some practical experience by working as a Graduate Assistant Coach or a Graduate Assistant in the Athletic Department while going to school, Leckonby said.

Dr. Rogers-Lowery said that "the value of an education at Catawba College is the ability for students to further explore their vocation, or calling in life, through the educational and community experience we offer. These graduate programs provide another way for us to deliver that purpose to our students.

"In the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, students become credentialed to serve those in need in our community and beyond," she said. "In Sport Management, students will gain intensive, hands-on experience in a field that is important to our society in the way that sports can connect people together. Finally, our Ketner MBA program will help students to explore the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the American economy, and was embodied by the work and teachings of Mr. Ralph Ketner. Through these programs, Catawba further delivers on its mission to 'prepare students to reach their highest potential while becoming responsible citizens with a zeal to enrich human life.' "

Dr. Hake said that the online, one-year Ketner MBA follows the mission and vision of the school's namesake, Ralph W. Ketner. "To serve the community and be successful in business, students not only need the practical tools of business analysis but they must also have an understanding of relevant industry trends and the determination and imagination tor rethink standard business practices," Hake said. "Our faculty members have multiple decades of experience teaching and administering graduate level programs and look forward to offering a rigorous and relevant graduate education."

Dr. Hand said that the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance graduate programs will not only serve the students, but also the wider community. "Mental Health Counseling is needed more than ever in these ever challenging times," he said. "Our faculty and students plan on serving locally here in Rowan County as part of the required curriculum."

"The Masters in Sport Management will prepare students for life in the fast lane as they prepare for careers in motorsports, professional and collegiate sports, and the business side of sport," he said.

Dr. Betters, Director of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, said that "the need for mental health services in our society has grown significantly, and with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity of person-centered emotional and mental health care has only increased.

"Catawba College has an opportunity to not only make an impact on this need, but to establish a reputation in the mental health counseling arena as a program of excellence in our pledge to abide to our core values of Scholarship, Character, Culture, and Service. The CMHC program is a fully online program, and will offer a personalized educational experience with experiential learning opportunities via supervised clinical experience in the counseling field."

Dr. Aagaard, Director of Sport Management, said, "I can't think of a better institution or a better location to acquire a graduate degree in sport management. In addition to partnering with our local sport properties across the North Carolina Piedmont {NFL, NBA, MiLB, NCAA, ACC, and NASCAR}, our students will travel to New York and Europe to 'Grow in Knowledge, Network with Industry Leaders, and Experience their Education.' " 

The Ketner MBA, the Master in Sport Management, and the Master in Health Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are all pending approval from the U.S. Department of Education while the CMHC program is also awaiting approval from SACSCOC.

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