Students commend Rider for addition of new programs

By Olivia Nicoletti

Rider has taken the initiative to add a number of certificate programs specifically for health care, gender, communications, psychology and education majors that will allow students to further excel in their field of study. 

For psychology majors, elementary education and psychology double majors, with a minor in special education, a program for applied behavior analysis certificate is now at their disposal. 

According to a university press release from Oct. 5, “The 17-18 credit certificate is designed to prepare students who are interested in taking graduate-level coursework to learn more about supporting a range of behavioral and learning needs.”

For the future of education majors, the two-year New Jersey alternate route teaching certificate program will provide a way for students who have earned an Instructional Certificate of Eligibility and have been hired by a New Jersey public school district to become professional educators. With the addition of one or two graduate courses, students can earn their Master of Arts in teaching.

Julia Bayait, a junior elementary education major, recognized the stride made by Rider to allow students to market and individualize themselves while trying to find a job after graduation.

“I really appreciate Rider taking the initiative to further the education for future teachers. The track for education students at the moment is pretty straightforward with not much choice for individualization,” Bayait said. “With these changes, students will have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their classmates.”

There has also been an addition of a certificate in gender and sexuality studies. This program will further educate students on diversity and inclusion.

“The 12-credit certificate offers students a variety of courses to select from that delve into key issues such as reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, health, politics and law,” the university press release stated.

Senior arts and entertainment industries management major Sara Burke, who uses they/them pronouns, expressed their opinion on the enormous benefit that they believe expanding the resources of sexuality and gender education will bring to campus.

“In personal terms, I feel like this will impact me and allow me to find other LGBTQIA+ students on their journey. As I struggled with gender identity since I was younger, and only recently found the confidence to explore my truest and fullest self, I feel that if I had these resources when I was an undergraduate I would have flourished and felt not only more comfortable in my own skin, but comfortable being who I am around campus,” Burke said. “Now I am fully gender fluid and non-binary. Identifying genderless and using pronouns they/them. It was more of a personal journey, and a lonely one too. Obviously, Rider is accommodating, but some of the people weren’t.”

Burke described this step in Rider’s education with gratitude, and to Burke, this foreshadowed a safer and more comfortable campus life. 

“I had a really hard time being comfortable enough to express who I was and no matter how supportive someone was, I found that they lacked the understanding of what it meant. If we gave Rider the opportunity to learn more about people and how they identify it will only do good. I’ve had some professors misidentify and misgender me, and it shattered me, as I had only shown respect to them but did not receive it back,” Burke said. “Although I initially took it personally, I realized some people just aren’t educated on these topics even if I state, ‘I am gender fluid, and my pronouns are they/them’.”

Ashley Briggs, a senior psychology major, did not see a personal benefit with the new certificate program, but she recognized the advantage this gave to other students.

 “I am sure that seeing this program being offered will lead to current and prospective students doing more research into the field and learning more about what those kinds of programs entail and how they affect those who attend therapy that use the methods that will be taught in the new program,” said Briggs.

A graduate-level program for a certificate in communication leadership was also released, “the 12-credit program combines courses from Rider’s organizational leadership and business communication graduate programs to prepare students to effectively lead and communicate in the modern workplace. Students who complete the certificate can apply for credits toward a future master’s program,” according to the university press release.

A graduate-level program for a certificate in communication leadership was also released, “the 12-credit program combines courses from Rider’s organizational leadership and business communication graduate programs to prepare students to effectively lead and communicate in the modern workplace. Students who complete the certificate can apply for credits toward a future master’s program,” according to the university press release.

“Personally, these new certifications give me a lot more options for what I want to do after graduation,” Bayait said. “The certificate in communication leadership is especially interesting to me because it seems like something that can really benefit me once I am a graduate student.” 

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