Youth Development Degree and Certificate at Rhode Island College
A December 2009 report commissioned by RIASPA and PASA to highlight the components of the state’s afterschool professional development system identified that no institutions of higher education in the state offered a certificate or degree in youth development. Because a career ladder is essential in growing and retaining talented youth workers, RIASPA reached out to various colleges to discuss the feasibility of creating a youth development certificate, with an eventual long-term goal of a four-year degree. Rhode Island College (RIC), a teacher preparation school, was enthusiastic to build a certificate, seeing out-of-school time as an important part of a child’s education.
RIASPA assembled an advisory work group in 2011 to discuss the structure and content of a certificate, and presented the work group’s recommendations to the Dean of Education at RIC. Armed with this information and other national research and models, faculty at RIC started planning simultaneously for a degree and a certificate.
The Youth Development BA debuted in the fall 2012 semester. It includes education, social work, and electives courses, as well as courses that allow the student to also receive a certificate in non-profit studies. This partnership with Rhode Island College has been very successful. As of the fall 2015 semester, over 70 students have declared Youth Development as their major.
The Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in Youth Services at Rhode Island College, a 16-credit, cohort-based program, is also a plan for the future. More information to come on this effort.