Stephen F. Austin State University

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New online degree program in human development and family studies at SFA provides flexibility for nontraditional students

October 4, 2018 - University Marketing Communications
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - As a marketing coordinator and camp counselor for middle school girls, Maxine McFadden knew uprooting her life to pursue a degree wasn't an option. However, thanks to a new online degree program at Stephen F. Austin State University, she can now work toward her educational goals.

Recently, SFA launched a completely online bachelor's degree in human sciences with an emphasis in human development and family studies. For McFadden and other nontraditional students this program is a perfect fit.

"Being enrolled in this online program has helped me continue to work full time while providing me with the flexibility of going to school on my time," McFadden said. "I didn't have to uproot my family to go to school. I was able to remain in Tyler and continue my everyday life."

Through this program, students learn to become "caretakers of our society," said Dr. Rachel Jumper, assistant professor in SFA's School of Human Sciences. Students learn to understand the growth, change and development of children, adults and the family while integrating a lifespan, multi-contextual and family systems approach.

"The best part is I still get one-on-one help from my professors because of virtual office hours," McFadden said. "My biggest concern about the online program was that I wasn't going to be able to get the personal attention I needed. I was very wrong about that.

"I work 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it is hard to work full time and go to school. The online program has given me freedom to work on school work when it is convenient for me, but it still gives me strict deadlines," she said.

Along with the new program, SFA has partnered with Tyler Independent School District Head Start to offer a place for SFA students in the Tyler area to conduct observation and volunteer hours, which are requirements of the program.

Upon graduation, students have a variety of career options, including becoming early intervention specialists, lobbyists, directors of child care and senior citizen facilities, Head Start teachers, parent educators, camp directors and more.

"The most valuable lesson I have learned from this program is to not give up. You always have someone in your corner cheering you on and helping you," McFadden said. "Everyone in the program cares about children and their families and graduating quality people from this program."

To learn more, visit sfaonline.info/human-development-and-family-studies.