Aug 16, 2022  
SGPS College Catalog 2021-2022 
SGPS College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Elizabethtown College School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Overview of Elizabethtown College

Our commitment is to Educate for Service. We believe that learning is most noble when used to benefit others, regardless of chosen career path. We prepare our students to lead rich lives of purpose and meaning, while advancing independent thought, personal integrity and social responsibility. These are the foundations for a life of learning. The College fosters values of peace, non-violence, human dignity and social justice.

For information about the College’s history and Church of the Brethren heritage, visit

Overview of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Elizabethtown College has been a leader in adult education in the South Central Pennsylvania region for over 50 years.  In 1999, the College’s Strategic Plan mandated renewed institutional efforts to extend the College’s mission, heritage, and core competencies to the regional adult student community through the College’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS).  In 2001, the Board of Trustees reaffirmed the SGPS’s organizational status as a distinct, academic unit of Elizabethtown College, charged with meeting the varied and unique needs of regional adult students. The James B. Hoover Center for Business, which houses the Edward R. Murphy School of Graduate and Professional Studies, opened its doors in fall 2006. The School launched its first fully online major in 2010. In 2011, the Board of Trustees approved its first graduate program with the first course launched in 2012. Based on the model instituted by the Provost in 2020, the School was recognized as one of the seven schools within Elizabethtown College; albeit SGPS operates in a distinct manner to meet the varied and  unique needs of adult and non-traditional students. In 2021, the School changed its name to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS).

The School assesses the need for, identifies, and develops its own degrees, majors, curricula, and faculty to ensure the quality, effectiveness, and relevancy of the adult learning opportunities it offers within the region. 

The School offers accelerated, convenient credit programming and degree completion to adults. These programs are firmly based on the principles of effective adult learning and fall under the College’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation and Authorization

Elizabethtown College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Students can review documents of accreditation by contacting the Registration and Records Office at 717-361-1409. Students wishing to file a formal complaint against an institution of higher education in Pennsylvania can visit 

The syllabi are written to adhere to federal and Pennsylvania Department of Education state guidelines. Federal guidelines require a minimum of 45 hours of interactive instruction or alternative equivalent activities for each credit hour. 

The School has adopted the following Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Guidelines and general principles:

  • All accelerated courses will adhere to 45 hours of ‘equivalent’ instructional time yet remain in an accelerated delivery.
  • Although contact hours are limited in the accelerated format, adult students are expected to complete 15-22 hours of learning and instruction outside the classroom each week; this learning can involve activities like problem solving, reading, research, writing, academic journaling, independent field trips, web-based assignments and group work under the direction of the faculty member. Acceptable guidelines are provided through a standardized rubric with rate of instruction equivalency (see below).
  • Inform adult students of equivalent hours and workload. Equivalent language inserted in all course syllabi, handbooks and catalogs.
  • Maintain and assess academic rigor, excellence and quality.
  • Develop and deliver outcome-based courses, regardless of the format, to achieve specific learning outcomes.
  • Practice adult learning andragogical principles which will remain as a core program value (Knowles 1984). The six assumptions of andragogy include:
  1. As people mature, their self-concept moves from a dependent personality toward a self-directing human being.
  2. Adults accumulate a growing reservoir of experience which is a rich resource for learning.
  3. The readiness of an adult to learn is closely related to the developmental tasks of their social role.
  4. Adults are more problem centered than subject centered. Adults want application of knowledge to immediacy of application, not for some future date.
  5. Internal motivations are more potent than external motivations.
  6. Adults need to know why they need to learn something. 

Institutional Memberships

Elizabethtown College School of Graduate and Professional Studies has member affiliations with the following organizations:

  • Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
  • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • NAGAP, the Association for Graduate Enrollment Management (NAGAP)
  • WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET)

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

Elizabethtown College is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary, interstate agreement that establishes comparable standards for offering postsecondary distance education across state lines. Member states recognize participating institutions that are authorized in other member states. SARA establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. 

Mission of Elizabethtown College

Molded by a commitment to educate for service, Elizabethtown College is a community of learners dedicated to educating students intellectually, socially, aesthetically, and ethically for lives of service and leadership as citizens of the world.

As a comprehensive institution, the College offers academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies. Combining classroom instruction with experiential learning, these programs advance independent thought, personal integrity, and social responsibility as the foundations for a life of learning.

Founded by members of the Church of the Brethren, the College believes that learning is most noble when used to benefit others and affirms the values of peace, nonviolence, human dignity, and social justice.

Educational Philosophy

Elizabethtown College engages students in a dynamic, integrated learning process that blends the liberal arts and professional studies. Challenged to take responsibility for their education, students at Elizabethtown embark on a journey of self-transformation that involves intellectual, social, and personal growth. The College is committed to educating the whole person within a relationship-centered learning community where common goals are achieved through engagement in a rigorous academic curriculum and thoughtful co-curricular experiences. Students are encouraged to develop and challenge their own values, while seeking to understand and appreciate alternative perspectives. Embedded in an ever-changing global context, the College promotes the developmental, collaborative, and complex nature of learning.

In seeking to “educate for service,” Elizabethtown College believes that students can perform no greater service than they do when sharing knowledge and creativity with others. Opportunities to strengthen scholarship and leadership extend beyond the classroom, and students learn actively through practical experiences and civic engagement.

The impact of an Elizabethtown College education is long lasting and far-reaching because it is deeply transformative. Students acquire new habits of mind and heart–some in the course of the undergraduate experience, others as students grow beyond college.

At Elizabethtown College, students are inspired and challenged to:

  • assume responsibility for their intellectual development, personal growth, and well-being. They will sharpen their curiosity and become aware of the capabilities, strategies, and resources needed to learn.
  • reason, analyze, and engage in critical thinking. They will learn to make, systematically evaluate, and, if necessary, refute arguments and claims—both their own and those of others.
  • demonstrate thoughtful and articulate communication by applying knowledge in a variety of contexts including writing, speaking, listening and interpretation.
  • understand the creative process and its role in human expression, and cultivate the ability to make informed aesthetic judgments.
  • navigate diverse cultural worldviews and perspectives, with the realization that differing frames of reference influence analysis, communication, and behavior.
  • make reflective ethical decisions and act with integrity to seek just outcomes within relationships, communities, and society.
  • apply and integrate different strands of learning and comprehend interconnections in the process of gaining knowledge and experience.
  • identify and cultivate a sense of purpose that inspires a commitment to meaningful work in service to society.      

Mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Elizabethtown College seeks to extend the boundaries of the College’s learning community to include a wider and more diverse population. The School expresses the values of the College’s mission through a commitment to and advocacy of degree and non-degree academic programs for students. In particular, the School embraces the values of human dignity and social justice by widening access to quality undergraduate and graduate education. In its programs and outreach, the School fosters a student-centered academic culture that expresses the College’s belief that learning is life-long and most noble when used to benefit others.

School of Graduate and Professional Studies Objectives

  • Expand access to the unique benefits of an Elizabethtown College education to new constituencies through innovative programming, formatting, and distance learning, thereby increasing the number of non-traditional students in the College’s learning community.
  • Develop and administer quality academic programs and activities, with the goals of advancement of student learning outcomes and student achievement of programmatic and institutional learning goals.
  • Offer support and guidance to adult students as they progress through their degree program and achieve their goal of graduation.
  • Maintain and advance the liberal arts core values of Elizabethtown College.
  • Educate and develop the regional workforce through relevant professional and liberal arts learning experiences that increase worker and employer productivity, and thus, to “educate for service.”
  • Help lead, by responsible example, the Elizabethtown College Learning Community in successfully meeting the higher education challenges of the 21st century.
  • Support and advance the College’s strategic goal of stewardship of resources by increasing departmental revenues while controlling costs in a fiscally responsible manner.
  • Value and nurture in the School’s staff the qualities necessary to meet these objectives and the qualities necessary for full, personal development.

Organizational Structure

Elizabethtown College Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees has final legislative authority in all matters pertaining to the purpose of the College and the policies for fulfilling the statement of purpose. Among the Board’s primary functions are selecting the president of the College, developing and sustaining the philosophy and policies of the College, setting the costs of tuition and fees, adopting the annual budget, and approving plans for developing and maintaining the physical plant.


The Dean is the chief academic officer and chief administrator of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. The Dean is responsible to the SVPAA for planning, implementing, and managing the School’s academic (credit) and non-academic (non-credit) programming, student policies, and distance learning initiatives. The Dean is responsible for the identification, development, and assignment of the School’s faculty, and the recruitment of adult learners by appropriate standards. In consultation with the Registrar, the Dean evaluates and approves all adult learner transfer credits to Elizabethtown College and is responsible for the evaluation of adult credit for prior learning, final approval of the School’s candidates for graduation and degrees, and maintains the School’s academic and professional standards.

Academics: Teaching and Learning Team

The Academics Team works closely with the Dean, SGPS staff, the Teaching and Learning Design Studio, program leads, and faculty to develop and maintain rigorous and high-quality academic programs. The Academic Team is led by the Director for Curriculum Development whose role is to provide oversight to faculty and academic programs. The Academics Team functions with a focus on program review and development; faculty hiring, development, evaluation and awards; monitoring program budgets; and scheduling, including quality improvement, compliance, assessment and coordination with admissions and advising. The Academics Team works with the Teaching and Learning Design Studio to coordinate efforts to manage the curriculum within the Canvas learning management system.

Admissions Team

The Admissions Team works closely with the SGPS Dean, Admissions Office, and the Office of Marketing and Communications to assist students with preliminary decisions on pursuing continuing education. The Admissions Team is led by the Director of Graduate and Online Admissions whose role is to provide oversight to admissions. The Admissions Team leads SPGS with marketing and recruitment efforts, international students/partnerships, affinity agreements, scholarships, and the overall admissions process. In addition, they liaise with the Business Office.

Program Operations Team

The Program Operations Team works closely with the SGPS Dean, academic advisors, SGPS staff, work study staff, and the Registration and Records office to facilitate student registration and advising. The Program Operations Team is led by the Associate Director of Program Operations and Graduate Admissions whose role is to provide oversight to operations. The Program Operations Team facilitates student registration and advising, schedule development, budget allocation, purchasing, honors societies, and graduation. In addition, the Program Operations Team oversees SLATE, Etown Edge microcredentials program, and SmartThinking.

Academic Advising Coordinators

Every student is assigned an Academic Advising Coordinator. Advisors assist current students with selecting classes and ensuring they are on track to graduate. Advisors also assist in filing required forms and recommend resources and services to help students succeed.


Courses are led by faculty who bring relevant, current work experience to the classroom. Such talents are a signature attribute of SGPS programs. Students know they are learning from mentors who have practical, real-world career experiences. SGPS faculty bring theory to life in courses intentionally designed to utilize this knowledge.

School of Graduate and Professional Studies Program Structure

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies offers accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs specifically designed to meet the needs of busy working adults. Courses are taught by faculty who are working professionals in the fields in which they teach, ensuring that content is current and highly applicable. Explore the School of Graduate and Professional Studies programs: 

All accelerated learning at Elizabethtown College requires the mastery of learning outcomes as determined by a variety of assessment processes. Faculty who are professionals in their fields utilize activities, formats, and methodologies that respect adult learning styles; therefore, accelerated courses and degrees are designed for adults who are motivated, bring real-world experience to the classroom, and are self-directed in order to succeed academically.

SGPS offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Digital Marketing and Analytics, Health Care Administration, Human Services and RN to BSN. SGPS offers graduate degrees in Business Administration, Strategic Leadership, Finance. In addition, SGPS offers degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Counseling and Psychology, Music Education, and Public Policy concentrations, graduate certificates and Pennsylvania Department of Education endorsements are also offered.

Etown Edge offers micro-credential content to help students grow professionally. Edge has 100% online, on-demand, self-paced modules across a variety of in-demand fields to help develop skills. Students develop a portfolio to demonstrate achievements. Certificates and continuing education units are delivered upon completion of each micro-credential.

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies encourages each adult to take control of his or her learning and to move through an academic program at his or her own pace.  Each student, in conjunction with an academic advising coordinator, schedules his or her own courses and is free to step in or out of the program as necessary.

The School is governed by academic policies as listed in the Elizabethtown College traditional college catalog.  The School further defines policies specific to adult and graduate students.

Student Confidentiality

The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law (20 U.S.C. 1232g) that protects the privacy of a student’s educational record. Specifically, the law offers the following protections and rights to students:

  • annual notification of their FERPA rights and of what the College defines as Directory Information;
  • the right to see the information in their academic record;
  • the right to consent to disclosure of information in their academic record and the right to withhold information that is Directory Information;
  • the right to seek to amend records and, in certain cases, append a statement to the record;
  • the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education Compliance Office in Washington DC.

An education record is any record (with a few exceptions) maintained by the College that is directly related to a student. This record can contain a student’s name or information from which an individual student could be personally identified. Information in a student’s academic record is considered private and, in most cases, cannot be released to another individual unless the student provides prior written consent.

Here are several situations where information from an education record might be disclosed without prior written consent:

  • The information is needed by a school official who has a legitimate education interest in the information.
  • In an emergency, the institution believes that disclosure of certain information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

Directory Information, as defined by Elizabethtown College, includes: name; enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; part-time or full-time); campus e-mail address; home address; home/mobile telephone; date of birth; dates of attendance; class (e.g., sophomore, junior); field of study; degree; date of graduation; participation in college-sponsored activities; honors; awards; photographs; and most recently attended institution. Directory information would not normally be considered a violation of a person’s privacy if it was released.

School of Graduate and Professional Studies students do not have directory information included in the Elizabethtown College internal campus directory. However, directory information is subject to public release without prior written consent unless the student completes the “Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information” form.

Non-directory information in the education record cannot be released to an outside person or organization without a student’s written consent.  Non-directory information may include biographical data and address information; the admissions application and supporting documents; the academic record, including class schedules, grade reports and transcripts; counseling records; disciplinary records; public information records; financial records; health records; placement credentials; campus security records.

Non-Directory Information in the Educational Record cannot be released to an outside individual unless the student completes the “Authorization to Disclose Educational Record Information” form.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Elizabethtown College does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, possession of a general education development certificate as compared to a high school diploma, or any other legally protected status. This commitment applies but is not limited to decisions made with respect to hiring and promotion, the administration of educational programs and policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other College administered programs. Discriminatory acts of any kind are strictly forbidden.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its implementing regulations prohibit sex discrimination in educational programs and activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance. This prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.

Elizabethtown College is committed to providing a learning, working, and living environment that promotes personal integrity, civility, and mutual respect in an environment free of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct.

Sex discrimination violates an individual’s fundamental rights and personal dignity. Sex discrimination includes all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking by students, employees or third parties against employees, students, or third parties.

The School for Graduate and Professional Studies refers to Elizabethtown College’s Title IX website for additional information and the Policy Regarding Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence.

Elizabethtown College has designated a Title IX Coordinator for all matters related to sex discrimination at the College, and to coordinate the efforts of the College to comply with Title IX law.

Director of Title IX/Compliance Programs and Intercultural Affairs
Nichole Gonzalez
Baugher Student Center, Room 247

For additional information and resources, visit

Questions about the application of Title IX or inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies at Elizabethtown College should be directed to Nichole Gonzalez, Director of Title IX/Compliance Programs and Intercultural Affairs at the contact information listed above, or to the Office of Civil Rights.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Customer Service:800-421-3481
Fax: 202-245-6840

Reporting of an Incident:

All incidents should be reported in order to determine the level and type of offense, to support the affected person(s) or group, to mitigate subsequent incidents by raising awareness of the offense, to develop an educational response and to activate appropriate review and judicial processes when necessary to address individual or group behavior.

Students may report an incident to any staff member of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies over the phone, face to face, or in writing.

Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation process to the extent practical and consistent with the School and College’s need to undertake a full and impartial investigation.

The College is required by law to issue a timely warning about hate crimes that present a continuing danger to the campus community and to disclose annual statistics about these crimes in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. Only general information, as opposed to personal or identifying details, will be disclosed in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act.

Investigation of an Incident:

All reports relating to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking will be referred to and reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator who oversees the college’s response.  Investigations and resolution proceedings will be conducted by professionals who receive annual training on issues related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as how to conduct investigations and resolution proceedings that protect the safety of complainants and promote accountability.   The investigator may be an employee of the College or a third party retained by the College to conduct an investigation.  For further information, you can review the Policy Regarding Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, Dating Violence and Domestic Violence Involving Student Respondents. Investigations handled by the Office of the Title IX Coordinator will follow all investigation, resolution and appeal processes as outlined in the College Catalog.