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Change Your Brain: Put some class back in your life with our education issue

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School’s no longer out.

With the country’s unpredictably fluctuating (read: dreadful) economic status, returning to the classroom in an effort to strengthen your influence in the job market doesn’t exaclty seem like a bad idea. More knowledge never hurt anyone, and if eight years of George W. Bush taught us anything, it’s that this country needs people with more knowledge.

But desperation isn’t the only factor driving regular folks back to the books. November’s election of Barack Obama provided a jolt of hopefulness for a morale-ravaged nation, and a growing thought should infiltrate the country’s psyche: if we can improve as a whole, why can’t we improve as individuals as well?

This is an important time for Chicago-area graduate schools and schools of continuing education. As always, the students they educate today will be the community leaders, doctors, instructors and artists of tomorrow. Most schools we spoke with emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary study, to gain mastery not only in one specific area, but to attain the knowledge of how that field of study relates with others. A broader scope of education is the clearest path to tomorrow, they say.

It’s not all heavy with consequences. Personal enrichment certainly hasn’t gone out the window. The same person who studies bioengineering by day at IIT can take a harmonica class at Old Town School of Folk Music by night. There are no rules to this thing, to quote Benjamin Button.

We’re all scholars at heart. Nobody, at least we hope, rejects information. And luckily for us, at several Chicago institutions and schools, it’s all right there for the taking.

The Education Issue was compiled, researched and written by Khaveri Campbell, Tom Lynch, Micah McCrary and Meaghan Strickland

City Colleges of Chicago
About
The seven city colleges of Chicago—Daley College, Harold Washington College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Truman College and Wright College—offer a variety of general studies and career/technical-education programs, with an emphasis on business and industry training. “Part of the mission statement is that community colleges should offer continuing education, and each community college can interpret that differently,” says Russ Mills, District Director of Continuing Education of the City Colleges of Chicago. “If a community college wanted to focus on sports or leisure or personal enrichment, they could. We do have that. But I see more of an emphasis on short-term certificate programs.” Which programs are currently popular? “I do know that the certified nurse-assistant programs, they typically do quite well,” Mills says. “One of the reasons is that with the program, you can get a job in a short period of time. Continuing Education is a good place to study if you want to get back in the job market pretty quickly.”

Major Areas of Study
Programs that train nurse assistants and pharmacy technicians are quite popular, according to Mills, but the City Colleges of Chicago offers a massive range of classes, from language courses to classes in ballroom dancing.

Little Known Fact
Harold Washington College is home to The Center for Creative Aging, whose mission is to provide “dynamic, affordable programs for late middle-aged Chicagoans seeking meaningful, generative lives and for business and community leaders and professionals interested in gifted, mature adults as a resource to enrich the City of Chicago and its neighborhoods.” Titles of classes include “Longevity: To Live is to Give” and “Opening Your Parachute in Hard Times.”

Cost
$72 per credit hour

Location/URL
Schools at various locations; District Office, 226 West Jackson, (312)553-2500, ccc.edu/academic_programs/Cont_Ed.shtml

Columbia College Chicago
About
Chicago’s foremost destination for arts study offers twenty-one different master’s degrees, in subjects such as Fiction, Poetry, Photography, Education and Journalism. The Film & Video program at Columbia is the largest in the country, and the school’s also recently launched its Music Composition for the Screen program, in which students craft musical scores to supplement filmed footage. “Our applications have increased steadily with each year of offering, and we are beginning to get serious recognition from the film industry,” says Andy Hill, the director of the program. The program’s philosophy, Hill says, “is that music composition for the screen is a specialized and applied art, and that the screen composer is first and foremost a co-dramatist. He or she is applying knowledge of music composition to the solution of dramatic problems, rather than to the pursuit of musical innovation for its own sake. We are dedicated to providing our students with learning experiences they would otherwise have to obtain on-the-job, thus effectively giving them a head start professionally.” Columbia prides itself on a faculty of instructors who are also “practitioners,” including Randall Albers, Joe Meno and Sam Weller.

Major Graduate Programs
Film & Video, Creative Writing – Fiction, Photography, Art & Design, Arts, Entertainment & Media Management

Little Known Fact
Columbia College offers a master’s degree program in Dance Movement Therapy & Counseling, which prepares students for careers as counselors “who use dance/movement as a modality for change and healing.”

Cost
$633 per credit hour

Location/URL
600 South Michigan, (312)369-7260, colum.edu/Academics/Graduate_Study/

DePaul University
About
The largest Catholic university in the nation offers a diverse spread of graduate programs, the most popular of which, according to the school, includes Computer Science, Elementary Education, Information Systems, Finance and Public Service. DePaul’s School of Music has received considerable recognition as well, even garnering recent notice from Rolling Stone’s “Guidebook.” The DePaul University Continuing and Professional Education Programs cover a wide array of topics as well, offering courses in Adult Education, Languages, Communications, Executive Education, Management, Marketing and more. “I think people are really putting a focus on a value equation—‘What can I get? What benefit can I get for the most reasonable amount of money?’” says Hap Bryant, the Director of Continuing and Professional Education at DePaul. Bryant also says that DePaul’s continuing education programs have an advantage over other area schools because it has “a very close connection with the city and the businesses of Chicago. And that’s interesting given that we are a private institution, not state-supported in any way, other than grants. So we have a connection—people can make connections to businesses and to other students. It’s kind of a networking opportunity.” He points out that DePaul is not defined as a research university. “You’ll hear people say that the focus is really on the students, but here, the star faculty are really stars because they’re national experts in their fields. Our professors do research and bring it into the classroom. I think that distinguishes DePaul…our business faculty are pretty accomplished, knowledgeable leaders, but what they do they channel towards the students, ‘here’s what going on in the field,’ ‘here’s what you need to know five years from now to be successful in this field.’”

Major Graduate Programs
Communication, Computing and Digital Media, Education, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Music, School for New Learning, Theatre

Little Known Fact
In the Computing and Digital Media program, DePaul offers a Master of Science in Computer Game Development, which not only includes work in graphics courses “relevant to game development,” but also studies in computer science, software engineering and networking.

Cost
$500-$1,160 per credit hour, depending on the field of study

Location/URL
1 East Jackson, (312)362-8000, depaul.edu/academics/graduate/programs/

Illinois Institute of Technology
About
The Illinois Institute of Technology Graduate College offers graduate degree and certificate programs in Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Architecture, Design, Information Technology and Management, Industrial Technology and Operations, Law, Psychology, Public Administration, Technical Communication and more. “We want the students to have strong fundamental knowledge so they can be flexible moving to different areas, as opposed to someone who would learn the latest techniques in a narrow field,” Dean Ali Cinar says. He says IIT strives to prepare students to “make them, from the first day, productive in the work environment, so that once they join a company, the company does not need to send them to training or teach them fundamentals or details of software packages.” In 2005, IIT was named one of the top eighty-one “best value” colleges by the Princeton Review, one of only four in Illinois that was chosen. Cinar says the school looks to produce “innovative, entrepreneurial spirits, rather than [people] waiting for orders to come down to them. They would be the ones who come up with suggestions for various opportunities as they see it. They have positive, proactive attitudes, the current tools [they need] to do what they have to do.”

Major Graduate Programs
Biology, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics

Little Known Fact
IIT offers a program in Food Safety and Technology, which includes studies in Food Safety, Process and Product Development, Food Process Operations, Packaging, Food Biotechnology and Process and Quality Monitoring and Control, and is taught by scientists from the FDA.

Cost
Beginning at $832 per credit hour

Location/URL
10 West 33rd, (312)567-3020, www.iit.edu/graduate_college/

Loyola University
About
Loyola University offers more than forty master’s degree programs, more than twenty doctoral degrees and a handful of grad-level certificate programs, in everything from political science to nursing to theological studies. Its School of Continuing & Professional Studies specializes in management courses, including paralegal studies, business communication and organizational psychology. “The mission of Loyola is that we promote knowledge in the service of humanity. Both ethics and social justice are key components of our graduate program,” says Samuel Attoh, the Dean of the graduate school. “In terms of mission and the core values of the graduate school,” Attoh says, “one is the commitment to intellectual rigor. Certainly [students] have to gain mastery over their own discipline, but in addition to that, breadth of knowledge is an important component, so we try to foster a certain level of interdisciplinary study. Students should not only be a master of their own discipline, but also have a sense of how it connects with other related [areas of study]. The main distinguishing factor is the fact that we promote knowledge in the service of humanity. Part of that involves training ethical leaders who are committed to social and economical justice. We [foster] engaged scholars, the kind of scholars that utilize intellectual talent and resources to contribute to the common good, or the public good. Part of that means being an ethical leader who is sensitive to social and economic justice.” Attoh adds, “Especially in these times, you certainly have corruption in the public circle, so to speak, so it’s important to train decision makers.”

Major Graduate Programs
Humanities, Professional Programs, Social Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Little Known Fact
Loyola offers a graduate program strictly based in nineteenth-century studies, with a focus on British and American literature

Cost
Anywhere from $655-$780 per course for the Graduate School, and beginning at $500 for the School of Continuing & Professional Education

Location/URL
6525 North Sheridan, (773)274-3000, luc.edu

Northeastern Illinois University
About
The Graduate College at Northeastern Illinois University specializes in education programs and programs in arts and sciences, but also offers a handful of degrees in business and management, thirty-eight separate concentrations in all. “Quality Can Be Affordable” is the school’s mantra, and NEIU’s graduate programs heavily accommodate part-time, working students, so the majority of the coursework is during the late afternoon and evening. Most students in the graduate school at NEIU are part-time.

Major Graduate Programs
Programs in Arts and Sciences, Programs in Business and Management, Programs in Education

Little Known Fact
Northeastern offers a Master of Science in Exercise Science, a program built “to promote fitness, wellness and optimal human performance through teaching and research.”

Cost
Resident $220 per credit hour, non-resident $440 per credit hour

Location/URL
5500 North St. Louis, (773)442-6005, neiu.edu/~gradcoll/index.htm

Northwestern University
About
“The only truly unsuccessful [graduate] student is the one who doesn’t finish,” says Andrew Wachtel, Dean of The Graduate School of Northwestern University. The Graduate School, often abbreviated TGS, offers MAs, MFAs, MPHS, MSs and PhDs in more than seventy disciplines, plus degrees from several specific specialty schools, including the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and the Medill School of Journalism (and both Evanston and Chicago campus sites). Interdisciplinary study is encouraged, says Wachtel, and Northwestern provides opportunities with combined degree programs. The school “prides itself on interdisciplinary research,” says Wachtel. And, he says, the school’s willing to adapt to new developments. “We need to redefine what success looks like,” he says. “[We’re] trying to make an atmosphere with as broad a definition of success as possible.” Separately, Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies offers master’s degree programs in Creative Writing, Literature, Public Policy and Administration, Sports Administration and more. The school’s designed for working adults so it predominantly offers evening programs.

Major Graduate Programs
Feinberg School of Medicine, Medill School of Journalism, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Kellogg School of Management

Little Known Fact
The School of Continuing Studies’ Psychology Department offers a course titled “Psychology and ‘Weird’ Beliefs,” in which students study topics as wide-ranging as witchcraft, alien abduction, parapsychology, repressed memories of abuse and spirit possession.

Cost
For The Graduate School, $12,252 each term. For the School of Continuing Studies, roughly $2,000-$4,000 per course depending on the field of study and type of degree sought

Location/URL
633 Clark, Evanston, (847)491-3741, tgs.northwestern.edu, scs.northwestern.edu

Robert Morris
About
Robert Morris Graduate School of Management offers three different tracks in its MBA program: Human Resources, Management and Accounting. The school’s Master of Information Systems program involves study in database management, information security and networking. Many of the school’s students attend part-time, and with seven different campuses, classes are available during evenings and even weekends.

Major Graduate Programs
Master of Business Administration, Master of Information Systems

Little Known Fact
The Accounting track of the MBA program offers a class focused solely on Fraud Prevention and Detection, which explores “how and why occupational fraud is committed, how fraudulent conduct can be deterred and how allegations of fraud should be investigated.”

Cost
$1,700 per class

Location
Several different campus sites (Chicago location: 401 South State, (800)225-1520), robertmorris.edu.com

Roosevelt University
About
Roosevelt University offers graduate study in several different fields, including Business Administration, Computer Science, Acting, Journalism, Music Composition, Real Estate and Women’s and Gender Studies. Divided into five separate colleges that encompass arts and sciences, business, education, performing arts and professional studies, Roosevelt has two campuses, one in the South Loop and another located in Schaumburg.

Major Graduate Programs
Business Administration, Theatre, International Business

Little Known Fact
The Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies offers a Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management…could be pretty useful if we get those Olympics.

Cost
College of Education $13,640 per year, College of Performing Arts $26,125 per year, other colleges $14,730 per year

Location
430 South Michigan, (312)341-3500, roosevelt.edu

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
About
The city’s famed School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers graduate degrees in several areas, including Architecture, Art Therapy, Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism, Journalism, Historic Preservation and Fashion. Faculty includes Cynthia Coleman, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Anne Elizabeth Moore and Duncan MacKenzie. In its mission statement, the school’s graduate programs strive to provide “an extraordinary range and diversity of curricular offerings through studio and academic departments, and students are encouraged to work as multidisciplinary arts practitioners. Cross-curricular exploration allows students to deeply examine their orientation, which often provides a quintessential experience that shifts thinking and takes a student’s art making and/or scholarship into new levels of creativity.”

Major Graduate Programs
Art Education, Art Therapy, Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism, New Arts Journalism, Design in Fashion, Body and Garment

Little Known Fact
The Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment program provides a learning environment “through a combination of dedicated design studios, topical seminars, self-directed research, technical labs, design history and theory courses.”

Cost
$1,180 per credit hour

Location/URL
37 South Wabash, (312)629-6100, saic.edu

The University of Chicago
About
With 15,000 current graduate students and seven Nobel Prize winners currently on the faculty, the esteemed University of Chicago is renowned for several separate graduate schools, including the Booth School of Business and the Graham School of General Studies. “These are turbulent times, so the Graham School is only beginning to discern the shifting interests of our students,” says Daniel Shannon, Dean of U of C’s Graham School. Of current trends in enrollment, Shannon says, “There appears to be a slightly declining interest in single course offerings in the humanities, arts and sciences, but continuing strength in our humanities certificates,” including in the fields of Asian Classics and Creative Writing. “It is clear the economy is having an impact,” he continues. “Students seem to be looking to increase or broaden their knowledge base and, at the same time, improve their resume.” The University of Chicago is also home of the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the highly regarded and advanced interdisciplinary graduate research program, which once held T.S. Eliot, Saul Bellow and J.M. Coetzee as faculty members (current members include classicist James M. Redfield and philosopher Jonathan Lear). Austan Goolsbee, of the university’s Booth School, currently serves as staff director and chief economist on President-elect Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Obama, of course, taught law for more than a decade at U of C.

Major Graduate Programs
Four graduate divisions in Biological Sciences, Humanities, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. Six separate graduate schools: Divinity School, Booth School of Business, Pritzker School of Medicine, Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and School of Social Service Administration. Plus, the Graham School of General Studies, which offers degrees, certificates and open enrollment programs.

Little Known Fact
The Graham School offers a Master of Science in Threat and Response Management, which is “designed to prepare public health professionals, law enforcement officials, fire and emergency personnel, medical and nursing professionals and policy makers to respond to and recover from complex incidents regardless of their size or cause,” according to its description. Incidents include, but are not exclusive to, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and disease outbreaks. Interest in the program’s development, according to Shannon, “grew out of the University of Chicago’s leadership in establishing a center of excellence in infectious disease research supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”

Cost
Anywhere from $1,500 to more than $5,000 per course, depending on the graduate school. Courses in the Graham School start under $100.

Location/URL
5801 South Ellis, (773)702-1234, uchicago.edu

University of Illinois at Chicago
About
Best known for its medical school, one of the largest in the United States, UIC’s Graduate College specializes in medicine, health, nursing, nutrition and surgery studies, but also has renowned programs in business, chemical engineering and mathematics. The diverse programs offered at UIC make the school unique among area universities, with more than eighty different master’s degree options and more than fifty separate doctoral degree programs. UIC’s aim is to bring “together superb students with outstanding research faculty in a diverse and stimulating urban environment,” according to Dean Clark Hulse’s official message to prospective students. Currently there are more than 6,000 graduate students at UIC, helping make the school Chicago’s largest university.

Major Graduate Programs
Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Nutrition, Nursing, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy

Little Known Fact
UIC’s master’s program in Forensic Science teaches you to be a real-life “CSI,” focusing on several areas of laboratory disciplines, including trace evidence analysis and pattern evidence. (Also drug identification and toxicology.) According to the program’s description, “the role of forensic laboratory sciences in justice system processes is an integrating theme,” so, basically, you learn to catch bad guys.

Cost
For in-state students, from $1,422-$4,265, depending on how many hours are carried per semester.

Location/URL
601 South Morgan, (312)413-2550, grad.uic.edu/cms/

SPECIALTY SCHOOLS

The city is full of other places to study arts, crafts and avocations, including a few noteworthy institutions noted below.

Flashpoint Academy
The flash-y Flashpoint Academy specializes in media arts and sciences, offering two-year programs in Film/Broadcast Media, Recording Arts, Visual Effects/Animation and Game Development. Faculty includes filmmaker and visual artist Paula Froehle, writer and director Peter Hawley, recording engineer Bernie Mack and artist and animator Ted Gordon.

Cost
$25,000 per year

Location/URL
28 North Clark, (312)332-0707, flashpointacademy.com

Archeworks
Founded in 1993, this alternative design school offers a one-year multidisciplinary program in design in which students work “in multidisciplinary teams with nonprofit partners to create design solutions for social and environmental concerns.” Facutly includes Director of the Chicago Urban Parks Program for the Trust for Public Land Andrew Vesselinovitch, architect Mason Pritchett and landscape architectural designer Kees Lokman.

Cost
$6,200 per year

Location/URL
625 North Kingsbury, (312)867-72544, archeworks.org

Old Town School of Folk Music
Chicago’s premier music-lesson institution offers eight-week courses in a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass, banjo, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, harmonica and percussion, and also classes in performance production, songwriting, theory and dance and movement.

Cost
$160 per course

Location/URL
4544 North Lincoln & 909 West Armitage, (773)728-6000, oldtownschool.org

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