“West Liberty University is the only institution of higher education in the state to offer the undergraduate degree in creative arts therapy. I thank the faculty and administrators who worked hard to make this signature program a reality,” said President Robin C. Capehart at the announcement of the approval of the Bachelor of Science in Creative Arts Therapy degree.
Dean of the College of Arts and Communication Dr. William Baronak guided the academic plan approved this past August.
“We anticipate great interest in the program and have had many student inquiries into this major,” Baronak said. The new program wouldn’t have come to fruition without the support of the Schenk Foundation, which provided the grant that fueled the new degree.
“The Schenk Foundation, along with an academic planning team worked together to make the degree a reality and we are grateful for their support of higher education and West Liberty University,” said Angela Zambito-Hill, director of development.
Art Professor Brian Fencl also was involved from the early stages of the new degree development, providing curriculum guidance and recruiting for the new major.
“We are excited to reach full degree status and look forward to enrolling more students interested in this field,” Fencl said. “Our first class is very happy.”
Besides providing another valuable educational program for students, the creative arts therapy major will benefit the community through student projects and internships, as well as the preparation of future employees in the mental health industry, according to Fencl.
Art Therapists work with a variety of populations including at-risk children, adolescents, adults, and seniors; people with addictions, emotional, developmental, mental and physical health challenges. Children with autism and autism-spectrum disorder have unique learning and social needs that can find expression through art. Graduates of the program will be prepared to enter a master’s program and become fully licensed by the American Art Therapy Association.