A new, interdisciplinary senior-living degree at WSU is in the works, with not only hospitality business operations but also nursing, technology, and psychology, to reflect how many communities serve a broad range of seniors’ needs.
After business professor Nancy Swanger developed a senior living-specific course in the business college, she began talking with other faculty around WSU who had interest in the field of aging and senior living, including Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe in psychology and colleagues in human development, electrical engineering, and nursing, to name a few. The discussions led to the idea of a holistic degree and a research institute.
The Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living will focus on three dimensions: workforce development, collaborative management and sponsored research, and undergraduate education. Some of that research includes smart home technology.
WSU has also started a noncredit online certificate program that will allow people to train in senior living management over the course of a year. The industry isn’t meeting current demand for people to run senior-living communities, Swanger said, and this certificate can help get people up to speed.