Students at West Liberty University now have the option of obtaining the Bachelor of Science in Creative Arts Therapy, a new degree program that has been approved by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
The grant that fueled the new degree was provided by the Albert Schenk III and Kathleen H. Schenk Charitable Trust.
The bachelor of science degree in creative arts provides a course of study and a way to explore and practice solution-based therapies with opportunities to build professional portfolios. According to a news release, educational objectives include providing a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree as well as further study at the graduate level.
Due to the broadening scope of the Division of Art, students have the option to choose a bachelor of science in graphic design, a bachelor of arts in art education, a bachelor of science in digital media design or the new creative arts therapy degree.
At-risk children, adolescents, adults, seniors, people with addictions, emotional, developmental, mental and physical health challenges are some of the populations art therapists work with.
William Baronak, dean of the College of Arts and Communication, guided the academic plan, which was approved this past August. Art professor Brian Fencl was also involved from the early stages of the degree development and provided curriculum guidance and recruited for the new major.
Graduates of the program will be prepared to enter a master's program of their choice and become fully licensed by the American Art Therapy Association.
"We are excited to reach full degree status and look forward to enrolling more students interested in this field," Fencl said. "Our first class is just beginning and students are very happy."