New initiative to meet working professionals ‘where they are’ launches fall 2022

Carson-Newman University looks to launch a College of Professional Studies (CPS) this fall following approval by C-N’s Board of Trustees.

The addition, according to Carson-Newman Provost Jeremy Buckner, allows the University to reach new student markets with a student-focused, Christ-centered education.

“The CPS is designed to provide working adults, as well as aspiring and emerging leaders already in the workforce, access to online Christian higher education” Buckner said. “These potential students have a need for education and training in either micro-credentials or degrees to make them more competitive in the market.”

Buckner says the move to add a College of Professional Studies fits firmly into the University’s Five Pillars of Purpose unveiled by C-N President Charles A. Fowler during his 2019 inauguration. These Pillars are: Missionally Directed, Confessionally Defined, Church Focused, Innovatively Driven, and Culture Impacting.

The University’s mission, vision and purpose were each considered in the development of the College of Professional Studies.

“Understanding and embracing purpose is essential,” Fowler said. “Purpose gives motivation to our people, heart to our mission, clarity to our strategies, and it anchors our identity for our many constituents.”

Expanding our mission to who Carson-Newman serves benefits everyone says Buckner. “We are giving expression to our mission by identifying new student groups who are working professionals, someone who is typically older than 25, working fulltime, and may also have a family.”

Dr. Ryan Baltrip, dean of C-N’s College of Professional Studies, says he is excited about offering innovative programming to a new group of students. “We will be serving a diverse array of adults in all stages of life,” Baltrip said. “We will be encouraging all our students to reach their full potential and equipping them to be servant-leaders who are prepared to impact their workplaces, their communities, and the world.”

CPS will be driven by innovation, bringing the best of what current best practices are for online and hybrid education as well as distance education. It will allow for future expansion into other markets and allow the University to be nimble and responsive to current demands within the workforce, meeting working professionals where they are. But what it will not do, according to the provost, is compromise the University’s commitment to its Christian mission.

“We will remain faithful and intentional to our Christian convictions with what we are doing,” Buckner said. “Ultimately, the CPS is how we want to give expression to our vision to be a Christian liberal arts-based university of choice in the Southeast for education and service.”

Though it is adding the CPS to its educational opportunities, Buckner says that what Carson-Newman has long been noted for will remain unchanged.

“The heart of our mission is providing educational and spiritual formation through traditional, residential undergraduate programming. That is who Carson-Newman is and what we do.” President Fowler went even further.

“Our faculty have built a strong traditional, liberal arts-based education. We are not moving away from this,” stressed Fowler. “In fact, the CPS is intended to strengthen and further enhance the Christ-centered, liberal arts education that is a hallmark of the Carson-Newman experience.