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CCU board of trustees approves three new degree programs

August 12, 2022
CCU President Michael T. Benson.

The Coastal Carolina University board of trustees approved three new degree programs during its summer meeting on Aug. 12. The programs are a Bachelor of Science in biology education (BBE), a Bachelor of Science in marine science education (BMSE), and a Master of Education in counseling (MEC) with concentrations in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The BBE and BMSE programs will be housed in the Gupta College of Science, which will implement them in cooperation with the Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences. The board also unanimously approved a contract extension for CCU President Michael T. Benson.

The new degree programs must be approved by the South Carolina Higher Education Commission, South Carolina Department of Education, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools before being officially added to the University curriculum.

Students in the BBE program will be trained in both pedagogical and technological aspects of delivering biology concepts to high school students. The primary focus of this degree program is secondary education (grade 9-12). Students who wish to teach at the middle school level will be able to obtain licensure with an extra exam. All students in this four-year degree program will take core courses in science and mathematics as well as specific biology and education coursework.

The BMSE will provide a strong foundation in marine science and modern education knowledge and practices, training CCU students to both understand the science and to effectively communicate content to students within a quantitative applied framework. The program will complement the existing marine science (MS) bachelor’s degree, providing a clear alternate pathway for students interested in both marine science and educational pedagogy within the Gupta College of Science, which is unique within South Carolina. MSED graduates would be qualified to pursue secondary science certification in biology, chemistry, and/or physics with no additional coursework. The MS degree provides a highly successful pathway for students seeking an interdisciplinary career as practicing professional marine scientists. MSED graduates would be qualified to pursue secondary science certification in biology, chemistry, and/or physics with no additional coursework.

The M.Ed. is designed to train professionals in the foundational concepts of human development counseling as well as specialized training in one of two concentrations: school counseling or clinical mental health counseling. Graduates will be qualified for employment in clinical health counseling (e.g., able to seek credential of Licensed Professional Counselor – LPC) in public or private settings and/or school counseling in public or private K-12 settings. Students may also go on to doctoral study in counseling or related fields. Graduates of the school counseling program will be eligible for S.C. Department of Education certification in elementary and secondary school counseling. Graduates of the clinical mental health counseling program will complete all coursework required by the state of South Carolina to seek the LPC credential.

Benson’s contract extension is through December 2028. He began his tenure at the University on Jan. 1, 2021, and also serves as a professor of history.

“The board is extremely grateful for the hard work and tireless efforts President Benson exhibits every day in support of our entire campus community,” said board chairman H. Delan Stevens. “He has great vision for our institution, and we look forward to our continued work together in moving the University forward.”

In other action, the board approved:

- Replacing six elevators on campus, which are located in the Lib Jackson Student Union, Wheelwright Auditorium, Wall Building, Prince Building, Ingle Hall, and Eaglin Hall, as well as constructing an additional elevator in the Wall Building.

- Two, one-year leases with the Coastal Educational Foundation for property at Tilghman Pointe and Waties Island, and at the corner of Founders Drive and S.C. 544.

The board’s next scheduled meetings are Oct. 13-14.