Cal Lutheran launches new school

More programs for nontraditional learners planned

"Our goal is to provide a continuum of educational experiences for post-traditional students that supports degree attainment, lifelong learning, professional development, leadership excellence and service to the region," said the school's newly appointed dean, Lisa L. Buono.

Photo: Fred Bauermeister

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jan. 23, 2020) California Lutheran University has formed a new school focused on education beyond traditional bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

The School for Professional and Continuing Studies includes the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program, the Center for Nonprofit Leadership and a new Center for Lifelong Learning.

“Our goal is to provide a continuum of educational experiences for post-traditional students that supports degree attainment, lifelong learning, professional development, leadership excellence and service to the region,” said the school’s newly appointed dean, Lisa L. Buono, who has directed the Professionals program for seven years and served on the university’s faculty since 2004. “We will meet these individuals where they are and provide tailored programs and resources for them.”

In late spring, the university plans to launch a Fifty and Better program for older adults who want to take non-credit classes for the joy of learning and social engagement as part of the new Center for Lifelong Learning. The center already offers non-degree opportunities such as continuing education for educators.

The Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program has been serving students with previous college credit since 1985. Offered in an accelerated format in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard and Woodland Hills, its night classes enable students who are juggling work and family commitments to complete their degrees.

The students served by the Professionals program are the fastest-growing group of learners nationwide and more diverse than traditional populations. Sixty percent of Cal Lutheran’s Professionals are first-generation collegegoers, compared with 27% of traditional undergraduate students. Sixty-four percent of Professionals students are from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented on college campuses. About 15% are veterans, many are single parents, and some are grandparents.

To serve more of these students, Cal Lutheran is exploring additional majors such as healthcare management and scheduling classes at new times and in new formats.

Cal Lutheran’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership will continue to provide affordable and locally relevant professional development to help staff, board members and volunteers sustain and improve their organizations.

“I am grateful for the work of Dr. Buono and her team to strengthen existing programs and create new opportunities for Cal Lutheran to serve this region,” said Leanne Neilson, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

For more information, go to CalLutheran.edu/spcs.

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