The pandemic and the temporary move to virtual classes have had no impact on overall interest in California Lutheran University’s graduate programs, with enrollment remaining the same as last year at about 1,225 students at the start of the fall term.
Students number about 540 in the Graduate School of Education, 440 in the School of Management, 200 in the Graduate School of Psychology and 45 at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley. In a challenging year for people from other countries planning to begin educational programs in the United States, Cal Lutheran added 22 international graduate students from 11 countries, including Brazil, Kazakhstan and Russia.
As the last of the Cal Lutheran fall programs to start, PLTS begins classes this week with its new Center for Climate Justice and Faith and online Master of Divinity degree — a program in the works for two years before the pandemic. All Cal Lutheran graduate classes except one information technology course in the School of Management are offered virtually. Management and education programs may add face-to-face classes later in the term.
Generally, graduate students working toward a career goal while balancing other responsibilities are less likely than traditional undergraduates to hit pause because of a temporary move to virtual classes in a program with a strong reputation, said Rick Holigrocki, dean of the Graduate School of Psychology.
The number of Cal Lutheran graduate students studying psychology actually increased about 6% over last year, and the number pursuing education degrees grew about 8%.
Education programs have experienced similar growth for a few years, with enrollment increasing 25% since 2017. The strongest growth has been in counselor preparation programs. Fall enrollment in counselor education is up 40% over last year.
Five new faculty members are joining Cal Lutheran’s graduate schools this semester. PLTS alumna Katy Grindberg returns to the seminary as the director of contextual education. Kyle McIntosh, a former executive with Amgen and Patagonia, will teach MBA courses. Cal Lutheran doctoral alumnus Nicolas Mize brings more than 17 years of experience as a teacher and administrator to the Graduate School of Education as a visiting lecturer. Joining the clinical psychology doctoral program as assistant professors are Benjamin Rolon-Arroyo, an expert on disruptive behavior disorders and the impact of traumatic stress, and Stephanie Tarle, whose research interests are in clinical child psychology and developmental psychopathology.