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The Saturday Scholars Program: Flexible Learning for Non-traditional Students

September 1, 2012 — The Saturday Scholars Program offers an alternative route to completing the Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Health Counseling. With classes held only on Saturdays, this accelerated, part-time option is designed to meet the needs of individuals who cannot attend the full-time program during the week due to full-time employment and family responsibilities. This option provides nontraditional students with an innovative curriculum, professional counselor preparation, access to cutting-edge Standardized Patient Lab opportunities, as well as to valuable individualized attention from knowledgeable, caring and accomplished faculty. “I’m in my second year of graduate school and I have a definite edge because of Drexel’s program,” reported Barb Gibbons, a 2005 alumna of the Saturday Scholars Program.

This past year, Dr. Veronica Carey has worked to ensure that the curriculum is consistent with that taught in the full-time program, and has instituted an orientation program for adjunct faculty members that teach Saturday courses. Dr. Carey also writes and edits a quarterly newsletter, The Saturday Connection, that connects adjunct and full-time faculty members. Regular columns include Dr. Ron Comer’s “Comer’s Corner” and Dr. Robert Chapman’s “Chapman’s Chatter.”

Dr. Carey additionally established a built-in lunchtime continuing education series, called Learn Academy, where students can earn certificates in areas outside of the BHC curriculum in areas such as APA writing style, interviewing skills, careers in the behavioral healthcare, and graduate programs. Students register to attend during their hour-long lunch break on Saturdays to complete that week’s Learn Academy. Each session is taught by someone who specializes in the topic at hand.

The Saturday Scholars Program is very proud of its excellent adjunct teaching staff, most of whom are currently practicing behavioral health care specialists. Several of the part-time instructional staff have been working with the Behavioral Health Counseling Program for more than a decade. One of the very first faculty members, Kevin Drab, was the Director of Clinical Services for a large addictions treatment center before joining the faculty as a full-time assistant clinical professor. He has since become the senior part-time faculty member after returning to private practice. William Holt, who has taught Forensic Mental Health Services and other counseling classes in the program for 15 years, also has a long history of professional roles within the Philadelphia region. He is currently the Director of all of Philadelphia's behavioral health services provided by Horizon House, Inc. Another long-serving faculty veteran is Stephen Ridley, who teaches Multicultural Counseling and who has been a leader in addictions treatment program initiatives throughout Philadelphia. He is currently the Manager of Collegiate and Behavioral Health Training for the District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund and was formerly the Regional Director of Northwestern Human Services in Philadelphia. These three longtime contributors to the BHC Department are joined by many other adjunct faculty members who each boast excellent resumes documenting the years of experience that they bring into the classroom for the benefit of the part-time students.

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