Program Goals

The Department of Gerontology serves the people of the commonwealth of Virginia and the nation by providing educational programs related to the understanding of aging and promoting optimal aging. The department encourages education through discovery of new knowledge, interdisciplinary interaction, professional behavior and service to the aging network. The department’s primary focus is to prepare individuals for positions in the network of aging services. These gerontologists are educated to serve as supporters of optimal aging for older persons and families and caregivers. The master’s program provides quality education leading to careers as services providers, educators and researchers. The department’s assisted living administration specialty area is NAB-accredited and will prepare students who seek licensure as an assisted living administrator. The department also provides assistance and services to the community and engages in research and scholarly activities related to gerontology.

The goal of the program is to ensure that students in the program will:

  1. Understand the biological, psychological and sociological underpinnings of aging in U.S. society as established by Association for Gerontology in Higher Education core competencies.
  2. Gain understanding and respect for the interdisciplinary team process in effective gerontological practice. 
  3. Through a lifespan biopsychosocialspiritual approach, gain understanding of empirically and theoretically based components contributing to optimal quality of life and performance in late life as well as knowledge and skills in best practices to promote optimal aging across the life span. 
  4. Gain understanding of the existing aging network across federal, state and local levels. Thorough understanding will enable students to successfully identify their niche in the aging network, contribute to a growing field and deliver effective eldercare services.