Philosophy of Graduate Education
La Salle University’s faculty and administration believe in a professional, practical, and personal graduate education implemented in its academic programs in a collaborative endeavor with the students. Because the University believes that graduate programs should encompass diverse areas of study, provide a foundation for the continuing evolution of new knowledge, and foster leadership, it offers masters and doctoral level programs in the areas of arts and sciences, business, nursing and health sciences, and professional studies. The following goals are crucial to graduate education:
- Scholarly inquiry in the pursuit of truth, evidenced by its faculty and students alike, is nourished in all graduate programs.
- Through their research and professional aspects, graduate programs prepare students for academic and professional careers as well as service to the community.
- Graduate programs promote lifelong learning in response to the changing and diverse needs of the 21st century workplace and the global community.
La Salle’s graduate programs emphasize theory and practice in their respective disciplines. The graduate programs stimulate critical thinking and high order cognitive activity in order to move students beyond knowledge and comprehension skills to application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Students demonstrate their learning through a variety of practices, including clinical experiences, case study analyses, discussions, and individual and team projects. In all programs, the Lasallian values of respect for the dignity of the individual, the primacy of teaching as a communal practice, a liberal education, and sensitivity to societal issues are closely integrated with professional theory and practice.
La Salle’s faculty remain current in their scholarship, research, and professional activities, disseminating their knowledge through publications, presentations, and leadership in professional organizations. By incorporating their scholarship and professional expertise into their classes, they serve as models of life-long learning to their students. For its part, the University encourages and supports the faculty in their scholarly and developmental activities. The University’s support of academic release time makes possible a faculty teaching load with adequate time for involvement in research, scholarly endeavors and thesis supervision. The University’s libraries, through its own collections, its suites of online full-text databases, and its vast reciprocal library consortial relationships promote durable librarian/faculty/graduate student collaboration. Professional librarians maintain a high level of current knowledge through formal in-service training at state-of-the-art conferences and regional workshops targeting faculty-librarian collaboration.
Although graduate students work independently to achieve their professional goals, they also interact collaboratively with their fellow students and faculty in the discovery and refinement of knowledge. As a diverse, multicultural student body, the students represent both the rich culture of the greater Philadelphia region and the global community. The combination of varied learning experiences and cultures enhances a free interchange of knowledge between students and faculty. The graduate programs uphold affirmative action and equal educational opportunity for their students.
The University’s doctoral programs confer terminal level degrees that build on the foundations of undergraduate and master’s degrees. Each doctoral program, uniquely informed by its discipline, enables students to establish themselves as professionals recognized by their peers and colleagues. Doctoral program faculty are qualified by their possession of doctoral or other terminal level degrees in their disciplines, as well as by their active research or demonstration of clinical practice scholarship in their disciplines. As highly motivated and independent thinkers, doctoral students engage in original theoretical research or professional level, practical clinical scholarship. Through their scholarly and academic achievements, doctoral students establish themselves as peer colleagues who contribute to the advancement of their disciplines and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge to broader professional communities.
The University’s strategic plan includes goals to enhance academics through intellectually challenging graduate and undergraduate programs, to enhance the graduate culture academically and socially, and to grow graduate enrollments through the expansion of existing programs and the development of new graduate programs. Future graduate programs will be developed to respond to the educational needs of the region and of the Commonwealth. Feasibility studies will assess the need for and viability of future graduate programs, and the University’s normal committee process will assess the programs for academic rigor, supporting resources and relevance to society.