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College of Professional Studies

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Your Future Starts Here.

The College of Professional Studies is home to a variety of professional undergraduate degree programs leading to Bachelor of Science (B.S.). The college also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Education (M.Ed.), Physician Assistant (PA), and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees.

Our commitment to cultivating leadership and innovation prepares professional student for success in these dynamic fields. Renowned regionally and nationally, our graduates are equipped to navigate today’s professional landscape. Through internships, practicums, clinical rotations, and capstone projects, we ensure readiness for the modern workplace.

By engaging with our community and fostering diversity in the workplace, we empower students to effect positive change. The College of Professional Studies is where professional students begin a journey to realize their potential and become agents of transformation.

Explore our new concentrations

Learn more about our new Pre-Medical and Occupational Therapy Assistant concentrations!

Message from the Interim Dean

Welcome to the College of Professional Studies (CPS). As you consider the next step in your educational journey, I invite you to learn more about the innovative and engaging academic programs in the College of Professional Studies. Our students come to Westfield from many different paths. We welcome and celebrate the diverse life experiences that they bring to our community. Our students are deeply committed to personal and professional excellence.

Ziblim Abukari, Interim Associate Dean Smiling

Beyond expanding your knowledge base, all of the Colleges innovative programs share one common thread: to provide you with a greater capacity to lead and get ahead in your career.

Our programs’ strong focus on practical, hands-on experience taught by expert faculty provides you with an opportunity to apply your skills in real time in dynamic classroom settings or in your current position. The College of Professional Studies continually strives to respond to the rapidly growing and changing industries that have become ever more crucial to our world. CPS’ innovative programs ensure that students like you will be the ones out in front leading it.

Our faculty and staff will provide an exceptionally supportive and collaborative educational experience, grounded in the mission and values of Westfield State University. As you learn more about CPS, I hope you will be inspired to join us. We are devoted to your success.

Dr. Abukari's Biography

Dr. Abukari is an Associate Professor of Social Work and has been with Westfield State University since 2011. Prior to this role, Dr. Abukari served as the Associate Dean of the School of Health, Natural Sciences, and Human Services. Working collaboratively with department chairs, he developed a strategic vision for the school which was outlined in the school strategic plan and the school academic master plan. Dr. Abukari also served as a member of the administrative team on the Advisory Committee for Academic Planning (ACAP) which developed the Campus Academic Master Plan (CAMP). Other roles included fiscal management with oversight of seven department budgets. Dr. Abukari also conducted annual personnel review and evaluations for reappointment, tenure, promotion, and post-tenure review. Dr. Abukari further provided leadership and administrative oversight of competency-based education, academic compliance with accreditation standards for Social Work, Nursing, Physician Assistant Program, Exercise Science, and Athletic Training. 

Dr. Abukari previously served as the Bachelor of Social Work Program Director and led the self-study for the reaccreditation of the program by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in June 2023. Dr. Abukari chaired several department and program committees during his tenure as BSW Program Director and a faculty member of the Social Work Department.

Dr. Abukari has extensive experience in curriculum development and assessment of student learning outcomes. He has over 10 years of experience teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in social work and social science research, statistics, human development, social welfare history and policy, community development, and international social development.  A frequent presenter at national conferences, Dr. Abukari’s research focuses on academic outcomes of youth from high-risk environments, international social work, and more recently, decolonization of social work education in Africa.  

Since joining Westfield State University, Dr. Abukari has served in various university committees including the Academic Policies Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and was a member of the NECHE subcommittee on Academic Programs during the university’s reaccreditation in 2023. Dr. Abukari is currently a CSWE Accreditation Site Visitor and serves as a commissioner on the CSWE’s Commission on Educational Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I speak to about an issue I have with my class(s)?
  • You should first speak with the professor the class. If the issue is not resolved after speaking with the professor, you may speak with the Chair of the Department that the class falls under to seek a resolution.
  • If you are in need of accommodations for a class that a professor cannot provide, you should reach out to Disability Services to understand  the process of getting approved for accommodations.
  • If you are struggling with the class and require extra help, you can attend your professor’s office hours or schedule a meeting. You may also reach out to the Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC) located on the Mezzanine Level in Ely Library Room 230.
Can I withdraw from a class after the course withdrawal deadline?

If you had extenuating circumstances during the semester to justify a late withdrawal, we recommend that you get in touch with your professor and the Director of the Course Achievement, Retention, and Engagement (CARE) Center to facilitate the withdrawal process. An email approval from the professor or a late withdrawal form signed by your professor, Chair of the Department under which the course falls, and your College Dean are required.

Who do I talk to if I have concerns about my performance in a class or my final grade?
  • If you are struggling academically the best approach is to speak with your professor sooner rather than later. Initiating a conversation can occur via email, telephone or in person (before and after class or during their office hours). We recommend that students attempt to meet with the professor in person or virtually via Zoom so as to allow for clear and open communication.
  • If you and your professor determine that you are unlikely to earn a passing grade, you may request withdrawal in consultation with your academic advisor.
How do I appeal a grade?
  • First and foremost, be advised that a grade appeal process can only begin after the final grades of the semester have been posted by the Registrar. If you believe that a grade you have received is unfair or does not reflect your performance in a class, your first course of action would be to speak with the professor to understand how the grade was calculated and if you missed any work.
  • If you still disagree with the professor, you can discuss this with the Department Chair for the Department under which the course is taught.
  • If the issue is not resolved, the student can file a formal grade appeal with their College Dean.
  • Be aware that a formal grade appeal must be filed within a limited time period. See the university policy for grade appeals at https://www.westfield.ma.edu/documents/1110gradeappeal.
If I cannot reach my academic adviser or my course professor, who do I contact?

We recommend reaching out to the Chair of the Department the course falls under if you cannot reach your professor or academic advisor. If you belong to other programs on campus such as the LEAD Scholars Program or Banacos, reach out to your adviser in these programs as well.

I think I’m going to fail a class, what are my options?

​​​​​​Your first action is to speak with the professor to inquire about your current standing in the course and ask about any options for making up missed work or opportunities for extra credit. Other options are:

  • Request an Incomplete grade to give yourself more time to do a better job on outstanding assignments. Note that the decision to issue a grade of Incomplete is at the discretion of the professor.
  • Speak with the Director of CARE Center about the option of a Course Withdrawal.
  • If there is a risk of failing multiple classes, you may consider taking a personal leave, which will grant you administrative withdrawal from all your classes. Contact the Director of the CARE Center.
What do I do if I need to miss a class?

If you miss class, you should directly contact your professors regarding your absence. The Office of the Dean of Students does not issue notices for class absences. It is important to communicate with your professors in all circumstances related to your attendance. However, in cases of serious illnesses, injuries, or hospitalizations where a student is unable to communicate directly, the Office of the Dean of Students will continue to liaise with faculty on the student's behalf.

Contact Us

College of Professional Studies
Westfield State University
577 Western Ave
Westfield, MA 01086

Office Hours
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Ziblim Abukari, Ph.D., MSW, Interim Dean

Megan Kennedy, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Educator Preparation and Accreditation

Jessica Holden, DNP, RN, NPD-BC., Associate Dean for Nursing