The mission of the Gerontology Program is to enhance the quality of life of older citizens through interdisciplinary education, research, and service. We accomplish this through innovative teaching and a wide array of out-of-class experiences for our students. We work hard to foster intergenerational respect and dialogue throughout the university community.
Gerontology is an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor at Shippensburg University designed to
provide students with a broad view of the aging process. It is
interdisciplinary in that you will be exposed to many different topics
(e.g. psychology, sociology, humanities, social work) and shown how
aging relates to each. Through required course work, electives in your
personal interest, applied experiences, research opportunities, and
volunteer activities, you will gain a firm understanding of aging
related issues that can be applied to your major field of study.
There are two primary goals of the minor. Our first goal is to
provide you with up-to-date information about older adults and aging
related issues that will supplement your professional training. A
second goal centers on dispelling many of the myths about older people
and to help you overcome fears about growing old. Together, the
accomplishment of these goals will assist you in making future
employment opportunities more lucrative and personally satisfying.
How will a gerontology minor help me in my career?
Because our older adult population is growing at an astounding rate,
it is highly likely that you will encounter older people, regardless of
your chosen profession. A gerontology credential can show current
and/or future employers that you have what it takes to serve this
group. Additionally, it is likely that you may have to deal with an
important economic, political, or social issue that impacts older
people. Current "hot topics" in aging include prescription drug
benefits, social security, mandatory retirement ages, older workers, the
impact of Alzheimer's Disease, and the mature market, to name to few.
Knowledge about aging can assist you in making informed decisions about
these types of issues and help you contribute to both your employer and
the well being of older adults in general.
What are the applied opportunities I can expect in gerontology at Ship?
To gain practical experience working with our older population, every
gerontology student engages in an internship experience. The
internship is broadly defined and every effort will be will made to
place you in an area that will benefit your career. For example, if you
are interested in helping older adults in need, we will try to place
you in a local social service agency. If your interests are more
business oriented, we can set up an experience with a local business so
you can learn about retirement planning, agency administration, etc. In
short, we will do everything we can to give you the necessary tools you
need to fulfill your personal educational goals.
In addition to the internship, the gerontology program encourages
volunteer experiences with older adults in the area. You many want to
visit older people in nursing homes, help solicit signatures for
later-life political initiatives, deliver meals to seniors who have
mobility problems, or or just sit down and talk with those who visit
area senior community centers.
Who can declare the gerontology minor?
The gerontology minor can benefit a diverse group of
professionals. For example, those interested in working with older
adults (e.g. social workers, psychologists, physicians, health
services); those who want to design products that can be useful to older
people (e.g. financial planners, computer software/hardware engineers);
or professionals concerned about issues that impact later adulthood
(e.g. lawyers, political scientists, sociologists) should consider
enrolling in the gerontology minor.