Lane’s construction of a new Downtown Center, due to be finished at the end of this year, means that the Massage Program will have a new home as of the Winter 2013 term. We are excited to be in a brand new building and look forward to discovering all that it offers, but the move will also bring inevitable challenges. Over the past year, as faculty and staff have learned about certain constraints of our new space, we have discovered that the program will have to undergo a number of adaptations when we move. In order to “test run” these changes, we are implementing them in the Fall 2012 term, even though we will not yet occupy the new building. Some of these changes are subtle, but some are quite significant; here is a summary:
- We are introducing a cohort-driven educational model, wherein students will be accepted into a 14-person cohort and move through 6 pre-scheduled terms with the same group.
- We are initiating an application process for admission into the cohort as of the Fall 2012 term.
- Cohorts will begin each term, not just in the fall (i.e. 4 cohorts will begin each year).
- Classrooms will seat only 14 students, so we are unable to continue to insure open-entry for students who must leave the program before completion.
- Terms will be 10 weeks, not 11.
One of the most difficult transitions we face is moving away from a level of flexibility that has allowed us to have an open-entry/open-exit option for all students in the past. With fewer classrooms to operate out of, accommodations in scheduling and enrollment have proven the most challenging. As we embrace all that a cohort model can offer our students—such as strong senses of both continuity and community—we recognize that this transition will mean the program no longer feels as accessible to some kinds of students. We are working hard to account for all potential students, and will be strategizing on how to increase flexibility, pathways, and options; the brainstorming has already begun, but we will need to experience our new home in order to know just what is possible.
We are also aware that a number of changes on the horizon will catch current students in a potentially confusing space between the old and the new. As we have always done when the program has undergone change, we will work with any student who encounters the growing pains of these transitions to insure that they can complete the program in an efficient manner. Some modifications to classes may particularly affect current students. Several changes are in the works; some were launched this term and the rest will begin in the fall. These include:
- Communication from the Heart will be replaced by a new class, Introduction to Massage & Communication. This first-term, half-term class will continue to present important foundational communication skills, focusing on constructive dialogue with classmates and instructors, and exploring communication styles. Since knowing our needs helps us communicate them, students will also be asked to think about how they learn and study so that they can develop the support that will help them be successful. And, to prepare for the giving and receiving of touch, the power of touch and of non-verbal communication will also be discussed.
- Introduction to Palpation will be split into an upper body and lower body section (mirroring the upper level Kinesiology classes), allowing students more time to absorb and integrate content.
- Energy Systems is now called Introduction to Acupressure to better reflect class content.
- Hydrotherapy will no longer be taught on its own, but will become a part of a new class, Massage VI. This last-term class will introduce hydrotherapy and postural analysis techniques and will ask students to consider real-life scenarios in the creation of integrative treatment plans. At the end of the term, students will work together to make decisions about testing and complete their exam applications.
- The Palpation Intensives, now taught as upper body and lower body all-day seminars, will be replaced by Palpation Lab—a last-term intensive review that will be spread over five days instead of two. The one-day intensives will remain available for several terms to accommodate pre-cohort students who are completing the program during our transition period!
Despite all best efforts, these next several terms are bound to be full of a few surprises and a few trials—for faculty, staff, and students alike. With patience and understanding, we hope these growing pains can be minimal. And with some creativity, we hope that the potential for our new program in our new home will prove to be much more than we can yet imagine!