From its modest beginnings of just 41 students and two programs, the Friends University Graduate School has bloomed into a booming academic enterprise with more than 700 students in 12 master’s degree programs.
As a pioneer in meeting the needs of adult learners, Friends University began offering its Master of Science in Family Therapy and Master of Science in Management in 1986. The University’s unique cohort format allows professional adults to meet once a week for 18-months to two years and earn graduate degrees, while still maintaining career and family obligations.
“Students attend in a cohort group, staying with the same group of students throughout the coursework of the degree, thus building strong bonds that serve them well not only during their coursework, but often throughout their careers,” said Dr. Evelyn Hume, dean of the Graduate School.
Throughout the past 25 years, the Graduate School has grown and evolved with the needs of its students and the community. For instance, the Master of Science in Management evolved into the Master of Global Leadership and Management in 2010. Dr. Hume said the Master of Business Administration has the largest enrollment, approximately 275 students, with the Master of Healthcare Leadership and the Master of Science in Family Therapy following close behind.
“The Graduate School is very student-focused and always strives to provide the very best student service possible,” Dr. Hume said.
At the inception of the University’s graduate degree programs in 1986, the master’s programs were lumped together with the University’s other academic offerings. It wasn’t until 2005, that the Graduate School was established and centrally located in the Olive White Garvey Business and Technology Building.
Dr. Hume is only the third dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Al Saber, who was a driving force in establishing the Graduate School, was dean from 2005 to 2008. Dr. James Gearity served as interim dean from 2008 to 2009. And Dr. Hume began her leadership role in 2009.
As the Graduate School continues to prosper, Dr. Hume says it has a couple goals in mind for the near future.
“The Graduate School’s next big step is to begin considering doctoral degree programs, as well as adding additional master's degrees,” she said.