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Founded in 1859, Valparaiso University has been known for the integration of its outstanding liberal arts education and professional programs. It belongs to a distinctive group of institutions of higher education that consistently receives national recognition for quality educational programs. The graduate programs at Valparaiso extend this tradition of excellence to include a number of areas of advanced study. Our programs are deliberately limited to the kinds of graduate study that fit our larger mission of both service and scholarship, that blend liberal and professional education, and that we know we can do exceptionally well.
The facilities at Valparaiso University are designed to support its mission of excellence. On a 300-acre park-like setting that includes traditional classroom and lab buildings, residence halls, and the Union, the visually pleasing campus is highlighted by the new Christopher Center for Learning and Information Resources which serves as the hub for intellectual, scholarly, and academic inquiry on campus. This Center is complemented by the VU Center for the Arts and an impressive Chapel that supports worship by individuals of many faiths.
State-of-the-art electronic information and computer facilities are integrated through all levels of the campus, and individual departments augment general University facilities with additional training labs, clinics, practice rooms, and multi-media classrooms. Finally, the University’s location in Northwest Indiana provides students the benefits of Chicago and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan as well as the friendliness of the residential community of Valparaiso.
Meet your fellow students
Our 600+ students in the Graduate School are a select group, not only because of their academic credentials but also because they value the “learning community” experience that characterizes Valparaiso University. In an age when the master’s degree is increasingly becoming the “professionalizing” credential, and when many universities have instituted minimal entry requirements, Valparaiso University adheres to a higher standard. Our admission process is selective: for some programs we limit the size of entering classes, and we admit only those students who we believe will succeed in our rigorous course of study. So you can assume that your fellow students have met the same high standards required of you in order to qualify for admission.
Our graduate students are the kind that flourish in an environment which emphasizes strong mentoring by and frequent interaction with faculty. On average they are about 30 years of age—they tend to view faculty more as partners in learning than as classroom instructors. We encourage them to be, and they come to value their role as, potential contributors to the learning of their peers.
Many hold professional jobs full- or part-time; a number have co-authored professional presentations or publications; and some hold positions of prominence within the community. Some are yet in the formative stages of their careers, having begun their advanced study immediately upon graduation from college. Still others are returning to school after a long hiatus, perhaps changing careers or having completed their responsibilities of raising a family. Nearly all have been attracted to Valparaiso because of its reputation for quality, its ability to meet their professional and personal needs, and its strong emphasis on blending liberal and professional education.
While the majority of students hail from the Great Lakes region, some come from other states in the Midwest. And there are always those who find their way to VU from the east or west coast or from countries abroad. Although Valparaiso University takes pride in its Lutheran heritage, graduate applicants tend to be wide and varied in their religious preferences and interests. The emphasis within the graduate programs is on instilling values, developing broad principles of ethics, and improving the human condition through professional service and expertise.
Graduate Life and Culture
Pursuing an advanced degree requires diligence, time, and dedication, so the Graduate School takes great strides to simplify the “details” of being a student. For example, an orientation for new graduate students advises individuals how to maneuver through the system quickly and efficiently. Included in this session is information pertaining to student ID’s, parking permits, library cards, and instruction on accessing the Web, email accounts, and software.
This “one-stop” approach characterizes all graduate student services and functions, which are coordinated through a single office. Ongoing workshops, seminars, and focus sessions help ensure that students’ needs are continually monitored and that their likelihood of success is maximized.
But there’s another side to graduate study... getting to know the faculty and your fellow students, developing a sense of identity with the program and the University, and experiencing the enjoyable aspects of learning within a community of scholars. To this end, the Graduate School and various graduate departments regularly sponsor events and activities that promote group discussion, interaction, and cohesion throughout the course of study. The student’s final year is marked by a research symposium and banquet highlighting the scholarly work of graduate students and recognizing those who have achieved academic distinction.
A word about the faculty
Above all else, the dedicated faculty form the heart of our graduate programs. They are master teachers whose role is to engage students in the art and science of learning, to guide students to appreciate and challenge ideas, and to nurture them in their development as professionals. The large majority of faculty are full-time — you’ll find they are committed to and enjoy teaching, are eager to discuss your ideas and thoughts, and respond to your emails and phone calls. Because teaching is their profession, they know how to do it, and they do it well.
But their love of learning does not stop with great teaching. They practice the scholarship they teach. Some are poets and creative writers, many conduct research and publish papers, and a number have written books and monographs that have received national acclaim. The University takes great pride in the scholarship of the faculty, many of whom have received significant recognition in their field of work. What does this mean to you? Simply that unlike institutions where research takes precedence over teaching, at Valparaiso University you’ll have the chance to become a collegial participant in the faculty’s scholarship.
At the same time, the faculty understand the professions for which they are preparing students. Many counsel, consult, and practice in their fields. They know the community and the region, they network with professionals locally and nationally, and they serve on advisory boards of private and non-profit groups. In short, their connections often provide gateways to students taking their first critical steps into their profession.