As the workplace becomes increasingly responsive to the demands of globalization and complex social transformation, the strengths of the humanities scholar—deep intellectual engagement with ideas and broad understanding of human culture and experience—are resurgent in value and relevance. The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies knows this well, as do the students, ranging from 23 to 78 years of age, who turn to Drew to reenergize lives and careers. Recognizing that “the majority of our students are accomplished professionals, seeking new options and new insights,” says Dean Robert Ready, the school has become a leader in developing “professionally relevant and intellectually rigorous programs that put the humanities to work.”
At the same time, these new academic initiatives serve to integrate the humanities into daily and civic life, putting the humanities to work for the common as well as the individual good. Here’s a sampling of three of the latest innovations at the Caspersen School.
Certificate in Conflict Resolution • Arts & Letters
Designed for law-enforcement personnel and veterans in the tri-state area, while also open to others, this new certificate program brings a humanities emphasis to the growing field of conflict resolution. The curriculum integrates fieldwork with academic study in conflict resolution and mediation as well as the humanities. Course topics include ethics, religious diversity, and the sociology of gangs, providing humanities-based insights into the cultural, historical, and sociological divisions at the root of conflict. Employment is predicted to grow by 22 percent through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an increasing number of sectors—from business to education, from law to social services—hiring conflict-resolution specialists. Law-enforcement personnel and veterans, already skilled in analyzing and defusing tense situations among many kinds of people, are well positioned to pivot into the field.
Elementary and Disabilities Education • Teaching
Building on the success of its master of arts in teaching (MAT) program in secondary education, the school will expand to elementary education as well as disabilities education certification at both levels. Pending approval by the New Jersey Department of Education, the school plans to begin matriculating students for the new programs in fall 2015 and expects MAT enrollment to more than double. Drew-educated teachers are highly valued in the marketplace for their superior knowledge and preparation; our students receive an additional nine credits of graduate-level study in their chosen subject area, surpassing state standards. “There’s no better example of the humanities at work than a well-prepared teacher stepping into the classroom to educate the next generation of learners,” says Ready, noting that the MAT program recently received a gold-standard five-year accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
RxPoetica • Medical Humanities and Poetry
Can poetry help to reset the balance between spirit and science, between the care of the patient and the treatment of the disease? RxPoetica, a collaborative initiative between the Caspersen School and the Center for Humanism at Rutgers’ New Jersey Medical School, brings our graduate students together with medical students, medical residents, and attending physicians in the reading and writing of poetry. Exploring the human experience of illness and wellness through poetic expression helps healthcare providers to deepen empathy and affiliation with their patients, resulting in better outcomes for patients and deeper satisfaction for doctors. And, for students in our poetry and medical humanities graduate programs, RxPoetica offers an avenue for building academic portfolios while contributing meaningfully to the betterment of society. —Lori Chambers
Visit the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies to learn more about our programs in teaching, poetry, history & culture, arts & letters, medical humanities, and research ethics.