By Jeff Murphy, October 10, 2018
WARRENSBURG, MO – Recognizing that “independent graduate degree programs are preparing
more than 80,000 education specialists, and master’s and doctoral students with discipline-specific
and transferable skills to meet critical and workforce needs,” Missouri Gov. Michael
L. Parson has proclaimed Oct. 15-19 Graduate Education Week in Missouri. Along with
the Governor’s recognition of the importance of graduate education, the University
of Central Missouri also has a variety of activities planned during the week to recognize
its many graduate students and the opportunities UCM provides for those seeking advanced
Odin Jurkowski, director of Graduate Education and Research at UCM, said his office and the Office of Graduate and International Student Services are planning special activities and events in observance of this special week. UCM’s Graduate Education Week features social and educational events, as well as food, networking and special services designed for graduate students.
These activities include coffee and treats Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Ward Edwards (WDE) 1900, and free printing for graduate students, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the observances in WDE 1900. Other activities and dates are as follows:
Highlighting reasons for the weeklong celebration, Jurkowski noted that graduate education
and lifelong learning are becoming increasingly important as jobs are constantly changing,
and at a faster pace than any other time in history. The result is fewer and fewer
opportunities for workers with only a high school diploma or an undergraduate degree.
“Almost one-quarter of majors at UCM are at the graduate level,” said Jurkowski. “In order to grow individually and in order to grow the economy as a whole, an educated workforce means that we’ll be seeing an increased need for graduate education.”
He added, “Mirroring trends at the national level, the three largest broad fields of study include business, education, and the health sciences. Specifically, UCM has seen a huge interest in our computer science, nursing, and education programs. These professionals require continued education to remain current due to advances and changes that occur on a regular basis. Instead of going to school and then working in a career for 40 years, we are seeing people continually changing jobs, changing paths, and having to reinvent themselves through lifelong earning that never ends.”
Jurkowski pointed out that the recently released report on Graduate Enrollment and Degrees by the Council on Graduate Schools indicates that the majority of first-time graduate students at all degree levels were women – with 59.2 percent at the master’s degree level and 53.5 percent seeking doctoral degrees.
“This continuing shift in demographics mans that degree programs must recognize the needs of current generations of students,” he said.
Knowing that more individuals are looking for opportunities to move up the career ladder, or even change their career paths for reasons such as increased wage potential or personal fulfillment, Jurkowski stressed that UCM continues to make it more convenient for students to obtain a graduate degree.
In addition to traditional course offerings, he said, “Our programs, and our faculty recognize the needs of adult learners and the challenges of balancing education with work and life. Graduate students have more and more opportunities to study online regardless of time or place, as well as other location-based offerings or hybrid schedules.”
The proclamation issued by Gov. Parson states that Missouri has a growing need for skillful educators in the arts, humanities, social sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. The state’s economy is bolstered significantly by the higher earnings of more than 423,000 residents who have advanced degrees.
Learn more about graduate education opportunities at UCM.