DeSales University provides an education that remains true to its Roman Catholic roots. Begun in 1964, when local Bishop Joseph McShea realized there was no Catholic college in his diocese, it was originally called the Allentown College of St Francis de Sales when it was first built in Lehigh County. Back then, it offered two Bachelor’s degrees, but has grown in the interim to embrace not only different denominations of students, but to include Master degrees and online teaching as well.
The core values of DeSales have never faltered. The school operates off a method of Catholic humanism, meaning that “every aspect of human experience is capable of enlightenment by the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. To put it another way, DeSales looks to encourage the pursuit of knowledge in all its forms, but maintains that Catholic doctrine and morality aren’t exclusive to this pursuit. DeSales operates off of a mixing of religion and education, looking to enrich students and the world they come in contact with through the knowledge imparted to them by the university and the core values taught by the Gospel.
The private college offers a “broad-based, liberal arts program and career-focused specialization”, with a wide variety of majors and degrees including a Bachelor of Arts, Science, or Science in Nursing. Undergrads can study everything from accounting to dance, biology to elementary education. Meanwhile, grad students can achieve one of five different Master degrees (Science, Art, and Business) and certification courses are numerous.
In truth, one of DeSales’ pride points is the quality of their online and continuing education programs. The ACCESS program was designed as an accelerated learning program from adults looking to return to school without having to make major time commitments that drew them away from their schedules. Originally done with night and weekend classes, the advent and evolution of online technologies has helped them take this endeavor into the digital age and offer this same opportunity to working adults in an easier, online setting. Though online classes are offered as part of the regular curriculum, expectations and demands are the same as in class students. There are both synchronous classes (ones where students and teachers are online at the same time) and asynchronous (where students and teachers aren’t online together and work separately), as well as hybrids, all culminating in degrees obtained by not ever setting foot in a classroom.
Using six eight week sessions in a year, DeSales provides online degrees in criminal justice, financing, management, marketing, psychology, and (of course) theology. There are also a number of certification programs for those looking to enrich and deepen their knowledge, or for those seeking to change careers and needing that little boost of information to get them started.
DeSales brings about 2500 students to their cozy eastern Pennsylvania campus, all looking to find a mix of education and God that will enhance their world. Using their Roman Catholic base, DeSales has managed to bring “[the Gospel’s] light to each dimension of personal existence…and every environmental domain”, thereby creating strength of understanding brought about by the convergence of holy and the every day.