Wolverines News · Food for Thought

By: Will Brooks


One of the goals for Life University’s 2020 strategic vision was to grow undergraduate and graduate enrollment significantly, specifically with sights on reaching 3,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students by that point in time. One tactic to execute that vision involved growing the number of degree programs offered, providing a more diverse array of degrees to appeal to a larger base of prospective students, while still aligning these new academic programs with LIFE’s vitalistic philosophy and objective to attract students with a purpose to the campus.


Two new degrees have recently been added to the College of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, as a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Nutrition began classes in fall 2016, and LIFE’s first Bachelor of Arts degree, Positive Human Development and Social Change, began enrolling in Winter 2017.


B.S. Culinary Nutrition


In both 2015 and 2016, LIFE’s nutrition program was ranked in the Top 50 programs in the United States by Public Health Online. The B.S. in Culinary Nutrition joins a robust Nutrition Department, which includes a B.S. in Nutrition, a B.S. in Dietetics – the only accredited program in metro Atlanta, an M.S. in Clinical Nutrition and one of a handful of dietetic internship programs in the metro Atlanta area. LIFE’s nutrition facilities include six state-of-the-art teaching kitchens and a professional demo kitchen and educational facility.


“With the new Culinary Nutrition program, students will be very uniquely prepared: they’ll have the strong nutrition background but also the culinary skills,” says Denise Pickett-Bernard, Ph.D., assistant dean of the Department of Nutrition. “They’ll be looking at using food for healing diseases and food science, as well as build a strong marketing and business background. They can take these principles and use them in a lot of different areas.”


The Bachelor of Science program in Culinary Nutrition prepares students to respect food and the food system as an integral part of health and healing. Coursework focuses on culinary arts, functional nutrition, culinary nutrition, food science, sustainability, entrepreneurship and food service management.


Graduates will be able to merge culinary nutrition skills with traditional business skills, such as entrepreneurship and technical writing to lead the growing field of using food restoratively and therapeutically to promote vibrancy. They will also understand that nutrients feed the entire body, removing interferences and allowing each person to reach their full potential of wellness.


B.A. Positive Human Development and Social Change


LIFE’s new Bachelor of Arts degree in Positive Human Development and Social Change (PHDSC) is unique among Liberal Arts degrees in the country for many reasons. It was developed to capture the original strength of a Liberal Arts Education, while preparing students for the rapidly changing economic, intellectual, cultural and social challenges of the 21st century.


“As we were developing the program, we were doing lots of research on current approaches to Liberal Arts education, while at the same time, trying to address some of its deficiencies,” says Dr. Thomas Flores, co-developer of the PHDSC degree and assistant professor of Positive Human Development and Social Change. “We took notice of the now commonly acknowledged ‘skills gaps’ among millennials in relation to employment trends. Across virtually every sector of employment markets, the research shows greater demand for skills in more holistic critical and creative thinking; effective communication and conflict resolution; leadership and working in team structures; and cultural diversity. What used to be considered ‘soft skills’ are now absolutely necessary in the job market.”


The degree offers a cutting-edge interdisciplinary curriculum and educational model. “What ties the degree together is that it is not interdisciplinary for the sake of being interdisciplinary. Rather, all the courses feed into the same thread of inner development and sustainable social change, and the interdependent relationship between the two. The very name ‘Positive Human Development and Social Change’ embodies the University’s commitment to an education that leads to greater personal integrity and responsible global citizenship. The various parts of the degree fit together like puzzle pieces, all facilitated by the educational model,” adds Dr. Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, also a co-developer of the PHDSC degree and assistant professor of Positive Psychology.


The PHDSC degree is housed with the Department of Positive Human Development and Social Change. It will prepare students for graduate work in various fields (such as Peace and Conflict Studies, Business, Management, Contemplative Studies, Leadership, Psychology and other fields. It will also prepare students for work in the following fields, as well as jobs in fields that have yet to be created. Some current examples include:


  • Business, Entrepreneurship, Corporate Philanthropy, Non-profit and/or Humanitarian work in any size NGO


  • Teaching (with credentialing process), Social Work, Peace Research and Education, Ministry or Life Coaching


  • Creative Economies (Film, Music, Entertainment, etc.)


  • Human Resources, Sales, Marketing and Strategic Planning.


  • With further training, meditation instructors, consultants or developers of interventions that employ contemplative approaches and/or secular ethics in education, healthcare and other fields.


For more information on the Bachelor of Science in Culinary Nutrition, visit LIFE.edu/academic-pages/undergraduate/bachelor-of-science-culinary-nutrition/.


For more information on the Bachelor of Arts in Positive Human Development and Social Change, visit LIFE.edu/academic-pages/undergraduate/bachelor-arts-positive-human-development-social-change/.