Best of Both Worlds
LSU College of Human Sciences & Education’s Evening School Offers Working Professionals Chance for Advanced Degree on Their Schedule
BATON ROUGE – Working professionals balancing family and professional responsibilities, but still looking to advance their educations, can now have the best of both worlds, thanks to the LSU College of Human Science & Education’s evening school program.
The College of Human Sciences & Education is one of only a few colleges at the university that offer advanced education during non-traditional hours. The evening school program establishes a niche in the community and state as the place to go for evening programs in adult graduate professional education in the areas of human sciences and education. Some of the degrees offered through the evening program include master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction, gifted education, school counseling, community counseling, human resource and workforce development, kinesiology, social work, and library and information science.
Kimberly Gothreaux, principal at Saints Leo-Seton School in Lafayette, earned her master’s degree in education from the college’s evening program in 2006. The program allowed her to work toward a valuable postgraduate degree while still maintaining her family responsibilities and career duties at Saints Leo-Seton, where she worked as a teacher.
Gothreaux said she would not be a principal if she didn’t have a master’s degree, and she needed a master’s program that fit her unique needs. Gothreaux chose the evening school program because of the convenience it offered. Her classes generally started at 4 or 4:30 p.m., which gave her enough time to drive to Baton Rouge after the school day was finished at Saints Leo-Seton.
“I would say that a lot of that convenience was really the result of the commitment of the faculty that we had,” Gothreaux explained. “The faculty really protected the time we had together, so that it was convenient for us to be able to be a student and a professional at the same time.”
Gothreaux’s program was 14 months long, and she studied in a cohort of 16 other students. The other students were also non-traditional students who were balancing family and career responsibilities with school.
Trista Badeaux, who also works at Saints Leo-Seton as a librarian, also received her master’s degree from the evening school program. Her program in the School of Library and Information Science was particularly unique because it was largely conducted online. Badeaux and her classmates would gather at the Lafayette Parish Public Library, where their professor would communicate with them through a television screen and microphones. Tests were generally online, as were class assignments. There are similar virtual classrooms in New Orleans and Lake Charles which provide students in those cities access to College of Human Sciences & Education online classes.
Badeaux’s class contained a diverse mix of traditional and non-traditional graduate students.
“They had people who were older than me, and they had people who were right out of undergrad,” she observed.
Although their evening school programs differed logistically, both Gothreaux and Badeaux emphasized that their experiences were convenient and valuable for their careers.
“My favorite part was that I didn’t have to give up my professional self to be a student. I could do both at the same time,” Gothreaux said. “And because I was doing it at the same time, I could draw on what I was doing during the day to help me as a student. I think if I had gone straight into graduate school, I wouldn’t have had the real-world practice to help me.”
“I thought it was efficient,” said Badeaux. “They worked with me very well through email; I could always get in touch with my professors. Everything was digital, so I knew exactly what I needed to do to get a good grade in a class.
“It’s opened more doors because I can continue in a school setting, or I can go to a public setting, or I can go to a museum,” she continued. “If I were to look for a different job, there would be more opportunity.”
The College of Human Sciences & Education was formed through the realignment of six schools: the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School. By bringing together these programs and capitalizing on their individual strengths, LSU has created a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant problems we face as a state and a nation. In this new configuration, the schools are increasing their impact by forging partnerships and sharing resources that enrich and empower their ability to provide students with extraordinary education and opportunities to impact the lives of citizens.
For more information on the College of Human Sciences & Education evening school program, visit www.lsu.edu/chse/eveningschool.