Union College in Kentucky was founded in 1879 in the town of Barbourville, Kentucky at a time when the population of 450 felt that “establishing a college for their children was essential”. Their belief that “education was the path to leadership” led to the creation of a “learning community dedicated to creating…transformation through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, service, and spiritual growth” with the backing of the United Methodist Church.
Today, 100 acre campus abutting the Appalachian Mountains is home to over 600 undergrads and 1,000 graduate students from 24 states and 14 countries, all given a broad liberal arts education meant to draw from a number of fields and prepare students for the competitiveness of today’s job market. Although there are just four major divisions of study, Union students are taught to “make learning connections” between the basics and between their core and their major, creating a complete student by college’s end.
Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees are offered here in a number of disciplines, including 29 majors such as education, psychology, and biology. Graduate programs exist here as well, with a M.A. in Education and a M.A. in Psychology (the latter offered for distance learners as well). The Graduate School has been in operation for 45 years, offering evening and weekend Master’s training to adult learners likely too busy to be a traditional student.
The college does offer limited online options, including a completely online Master’s program and a certification, as well as Internet courses. Their Master’s of Arts degree in Psychology offers students the chance to receive the same collaborative and interactive psychology program, only with the ability to learn on their own time. Utilizing the same skilled instructors as the traditional equivalents, Union’s online program uses online discussions and message boards, as well as streaming video and audio, to give students the in class experience from their computer. Students work towards deadlines as their schedule permits, with the same guidance and direction a traditional student receive in this 36 credit hour, online tract. There is also a 21 hour Chemical Dependency certificate program online, though it, like the M.A. requires a Bachelor degree (or at least work towards one already). Designed to teach skills necessary for dealing with chemical dependence, distance education learners are given a virtual environment to learn and experience their learning program in the same way as traditional students, only through their computer monitors, rather than watching a teacher use a smart board.
In addition, Union offers summer courses for those looking to accelerate their college years, or are simply curious as to certain topics. Most classes are offered in 4 week formats, though there are some courses that can take up two or all three summer semesters, with both 8 and 12 week classes available for summer learners looking to take college home with them, rather than make college home for the summer.
There are also off campus programs for those looking to study through the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, with options to study abroad in 10 different foreign locales. Add this to renowned programs in pre-professional, technical, and skills-oriented fields, and you have all the amenities of a big time school in a small personal setting (student faculty ratio comes out to about 12:1).
Union College in Kentucky, looking to combine life-long learning with civic responsibility and intellectual curiosity to create the leaders and servants of tomorrow.