University Extends Benefits for Master of Prevention Science Degree to CADCA Members
Acquiring certification as a Prevention Specialist is no small feat for those working in the field of substance abuse. Certification requires successful completion of a number of hours of professional training, practical application and exams that span different disciplines and community work. This academic and experiential preparation helps cultivate a strong workforce of experienced leaders capable of producing significant population-level change.
CADCA provides CADCA members and National Coalition Academy graduates with competitive benefits for obtaining this academic experience through a partnership with the University of Oklahoma’s Master of Prevention Science (MPS) program.
In January 2010, the University of Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Studies (CLS) officially launched the MPS, the first and only complete graduate program in the nation targeted specifically toward prevention science. The university offers the program online, allowing individuals across the nation to enhance their knowledge and effectiveness for reducing substance abuse rates and providing a strong academic background for the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium’s Prevention Specialist Certification. CLS staff members report that they currently have 34 students in various stages of admission to the MPS program.
Beginning in 2004, Joe Wiese, now retired director of OU’s Southwest Prevention Center, and current consultant for the degree program and a CLS adjunct professor, led the initiative with the support of Dr. James Pappas, Dean of the College of Liberal Studies. After more than 25 years of working as a prevention specialist in Texas, Wiese recognized there was a need for professional development in higher education to provide an evidence-based, academic foundation for work in the field of prevention science.
In addition to close work with university staff members, Wiese and his team analyzed a comprehensive national survey of higher education institutions conducted by Eduventures, a research and consulting firm, to formulate costs, course structure and program design. His team also worked with CADCA to administer a survey at the National Leadership Forum, identifying the core skills and services that community coalitions and field experts needed to implement effective strategies in their communities.
“The CADCA event had a great network of coalitions and prevention specialists to help us collect information for the program,” Wiese said. “They have the ability to really have a national impact.”
Following the approval of the program, CADCA entered into a partnership with the University of Oklahoma to extend the program’s reach to coalition leaders. Through the partnership, CADCA members can enroll in the program at the rate of $325/credit hour, roughly half the cost of enrollment for out-of-state students. Graduates of the National Coalition Academy can also use their training to transfer three credit hours toward the graduate degree. By the end of August, over 40 CADCA members expressed interest in the program.
The MPS not only helps individuals beginning in the field of prevention science, but also non-traditional students in the working world, said Dr. Julie Raadschelders, Graduate Program Director for the College of Liberal of Studies. The program bases its services on the idea of “self-directed learning,” providing challenging course material through online discussion boards and group projects accessible across long distances, age groups and disparate work schedules.
Jane Callahan, Director of CADCA’s National Coalition Institute, says the program represents an important step for professionalizing the field of prevention science and the work of community coalitions, helping reduce the likelihood of trial and error and promote the advancement of career leaders.
“After completing the National Coalition Academy program, our graduates always ask ‘What next?’”Callahan said. “This program recognizes the field of prevention science as a viable career in its own right, helping coalition leaders continue to learn and develop professionally.”
Visit the program website for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on receiving the discounted member rate.