The Tseng College of Extended Learning has launched a Master of Science in Assistive Technology Studies and Human Services program.
The two-year program includes 10 courses and amounts to 30 units.
There are many examples of assistive technology, ranging from hearing aids to handsplints to even computer software. These devices, used to aid people with disabilities, require a locating, selecting and understanding process.
CSUN is able to afford the additional Master’s program with the state’s current economic situation, Dr. Jennifer Kalfsbeek, Senior Program Director for the Tseng College, is able to clarify.
“We don’t want people thinking that this is state funded,” Kalfsbeek said. “We have in fact created a self-supported program. This means that it is solely funded from tuition dollars. Literally every cost, from faculty cost to material cost to the cost of turning on the lights is funded by tuition money. We do not use any tax dollars nor do we get state support.”
Kalfsbeek said, “Right now the state pays about one-third to one-half of student’s at California State Universities, as well as University of California schools, tuition.
As far as promoting the program, Dr. S. Victoria Jaque, associate professor and graduate coordinator in CSUN’s Department of Kinesiology, and one of the many faculty members to establish the program, could not be happier.
“I am very excited that CSUN has recognized the need for interdisciplinary, graduate-level education in assistive technology,” Jaque said. “It is my hope that this degree will enable our graduates to enhance universal accessibility with creative, out-of the-box thinking.”
Jaque, who has a special interest in the program, wants to see it succeed.
“My interest in assistive technology comes from my son, Cameron, who uses assistive technology in his daily life,” Jaque said. “Without it, he would be unable to access our community, nor would he have the energy to perform the tasks of daily living.”
One of the 14 students enrolled in the new program is Louis Herrera, 47.
“The Assistive Technology & Human Services Masters of Science Degree program goes beyond the superficial scope of view and understanding of what assistive technology is and how to best apply it to make a difference in a disable person’s life,” Herrera said.
After completing the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program at CSUN last year, Herrera said he realized his limited knowledge of other disabilities.
“Learning how to deal with the assessment of compound disabilities, convinced me that I needed to look into a program that will broaden my scope of knowledge in the area of assistive technology training and support,” Herrera said.
Hererra is already recommending the program to others.
“Those who are undecided whether they should go through this program, need to look at all that this program offers,” said Hererra. “The knowledge and skills that will be acquired after going through this program will set the individual apart from others, because of the broad areas covered which prepares the individual to be better qualified to deal with persons with special needs.”