University of the Pacific, a leader in preparing aspiring teachers and educational leaders and delivering quality continuing education, is merging a school and college to enhance the learning experience for students.
The Gladys L. Benerd School of Education and University College will offer courses as the new Benerd College in fall 2020 and focus on innovative, flexible online and hybrid educational programs to meet the needs of traditional students and working adults seeking career advancement or to expand their knowledge.
“Benerd College will build upon Pacific’s reputation for excellence in education and take advantage of creative collaborations to design exciting and novel programs,” said Maria Pallavicini, Pacific’s interim president. “The two units will leverage their strengths to provide a wide variety of in-demand courses, certificates and degree programs to meet the continuing education needs of undergraduates, educators, professionals and adult learners in the community.”
Convenient, affordable access to education is important to students and the merger could allow for flexible pricing.
“Today’s students expect flexibility in course delivery and continuous innovation so the courses fit in their busy lives, while also finding flexibility in costs,” said Patricia Campbell, dean of the new college. “Benerd College will be able to meet the ongoing needs of traditional students, as well as adult learners. We are empowering them to change their worlds.”
To better serve those adult learners, Benerd College will offer academic and credentialing support for degree and professional students outside traditional business hours since those students often work during daytime hours and would not be able to take advantage of those services otherwise.
While Benerd College is new, it has the benefit of name recognition because of the long-standing reputation for excellence in education, student teachers in local school districts who often become local educators, and statewide teaching summits hosted by the university. It is also directly tied to community projects that have significant impact, such as the university’s Beyond Our Gates initiatives focusing on early literacy and school attendance, as well as summer academies teaching science, technology, engineering and math. The college will continue to be Pacific’s center for online and hybrid course development and house instructional designers to help faculty develop and implement high quality online courses to better serve undergraduate and graduate students.
Pacific has a long history of developing innovative academic programs to meet the needs of its students, including hybrid courses. The university offers a bachelor’s degree completion program in Organizational Leadership in Stockton,” master’s degrees in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness and Educational Entrepreneurship, and a doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership as hybrid programs at the Sacramento Campus. A newly launched doctorate in Transformation Action in Education is offered on the Stockton Campus and is a hybrid. The presence in Sacramento will help a planned expansion of degree completion programs, certificate programs and consulting services on that campus.