More colleges in the United States are offering certificate programs as a way for students to gain a short-term, skills-based education in a large variety of areas that range from film and urban studies to community development and music.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 805,755 certificates were conferred nationally as of the 2009 school year. Those numbers grew from 710,873 in 2005. According to their web page, USF has 112 graduate certificate programs that have been offered since 2005. The College of Arts and Sciences web page also features eight undergraduate certificates.
The College of Behavioral and Community Sciences debuted its own undergraduate certificate, the Research Intensive Student Experience (RISE), last year that focuses on introducing students to research in the field of their choosing.
“You want to make the research come alive,” says Kathleen Moore, a professor and undergraduate research coordinator.
The Research Intensive Student Experience (RISE) focuses on this the “live” research by pairing students with research mentors in their field of interest through the Continuous Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) that coincides with the RISE program. They also take frequent field trips to research-specific locations, such as upcoming trips to schools for the visually impaired.
The RISE program can last up to four years, however, if the students choose to join the program during their junior or senior year, the are allowed to catch up on the required classes that accompany their research.
Eight students were accepted for the program’s spring semester, and about half of them stayed on. College dean, Catherine Batsche, says she hopes the program will grow to about 20 students per semester.
RISE students Ioanna Tagarelli and Yunet Holmes are working in the Neurophysiology of Aging lab.
“This experience has better equipped us for the Doctor of Audiology program we will be applying for in the fall of 2012,” says Holmes.
Tagarelli notes that her experience has gone beyond the clinical.
“It has helped us realize that research is more than just statistics, and can have a personal aspect on the lives of many,” says Tagarelli.
Professors and advisors of the college hope the program will continue to expand, giving students a variety of options to grow academically as many other certificate programs have been doing over the past several years.