Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Professional Arts with a major in Human Services is a degree designed to aid those practicing in human services-related careers to combine their practical experience and previous college education with advanced skills and knowledge.
Emily Dukeshire is a Human Services program student nearing the completion of her degree. She has ?really enjoyed the program? and ?found the tutors and staff in the program very helpful.?
Dukeshire works as a recreation therapist, and found the Bachelor of Professional Arts a very attractive option as it allowed her to apply her college diploma for credit toward her degree.
Dukeshire loves that the program directly applies to her job. ?Many of the things I have learned in the program have helped me in my job and my work with clients,? she says.
Dr. Jane Arscott, academic coordinator of the Human Services program, agrees that this applicability is one of the degree’s greatest strengths. ?The human services program receives kudos from its graduates for enabling students to make use of learning on the job in their universities studies. Students have the opportunity to apply examples from life experiences as filtered through the theoretical materials supplied in the coursework to achieve a deeper understanding of themselves as professionals.?
And completing a Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services can open the doors for these professionals to continue on to further studies in the future. Many students ?go on to post-degree programs in education and master’s degrees in counselling, the Arts and distance education,? Arscott says. ?They bring to their future studies the perspective of a skilled and knowledgeable practitioner.?
Dukeshire has yet to decide what she wants to do once she finishes her degree, but further studies are definitely something She’s considering. ?That still feels a little ways away,? though, she says. At this point, She’s thinking about trying either a Master of Arts – Integrated Studies or a Master of Counselling through AU, or possibly a Master of Social Work through the University of Calgary.
?I also really enjoy the work I do as a recreation therapist,? she says, ?and may just continue there for a little while until I decide which route I want to take.?
But while Dukeshire likes that she has so many options after graduation, one aspect of the program that she feels is a weakness is the isolation of learning by distance. ?It would be nice if students had a way to connect.?
Dr. Arscott says, however, that this weakness will soon be corrected. ?The first of the Human Services courses is going online in November, and this will provide an opportunity to meet other students in the program and . . . get to know other students.? Faculty in the program are ?excited about connecting students to one another because of the added dimension it will bring to their learning.?
Dr. Arscott also explains that the program recently completed a review ?and is looking forward to strengthening the specifically human services content of the program in the future.?
For anyone who’s been out of schooling for a few years since gaining their college diploma, ?getting back into good study habits can be daunting,? she says. But ?most often it matters very little how successful a student was in [the] past . . . Beginning with Human Services courses to fit with the student’s interests, developing a program plan in consultation with an adviser, setting realistic goals and working steadily toward them has worked well for most of our graduates.?