The Lewis University Career Education Program (LUCEP) was first established in the fall of 1990 to offer an accelerated undergraduate degree completion program in business administration for working adults. The degree offerings have expanded rapidly and are now delivered through the School of Graduate, Professional & Continuing Education (SGPCE). Programs are offered today in several areas of business, technology, and nursing in accelerated evening and online formats.
In 1999, the College of Nursing began offering online a master’s degree in nursing case management, the first online MSN case management option in the Chicagoland area. Today numerous undergraduate and graduate courses and programs are offered online.
In 2000, the School of Education achieved NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) accreditation. Also in 2000, the College of Nursing changed its name to the College of Nursing and Health Professions to reflect the College’s planning and program development efforts to increase interdisciplinary programs and respond to the rapidly growing needs of the healthcare profession. In Fall 2019 it became the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
In 2003, the School of Education became the College of Education. Fall of 2003 saw a record-breaking enrollment, with increases in freshmen, transfer and graduate students. New programs offered for the first time in 2003 included the master’s degree in elementary education and bachelor’s programs in forensic criminal investigation, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy, and business management for adult students. The College of Nursing and Health Professions also launched a parish nursing program that year.
In 2005, the University began offering its first doctoral program. The College of Education received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer courses toward the completion of a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Teaching and Learning. A second doctoral program was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). In 2021, the Board of Trustees approved the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).
Lewis was selected by the FAA in the fall of 2007 to offer the only undergraduate program in the state of Illinois for air traffic controllers. Additionally that fall, a master’s for adult nurse practitioners began, with subsequent ongoing development of various nurse practitioner specializations.
In 2009, the social work program was awarded initial accreditation through 2017 by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation.
Enhancing offerings in healthcare and STEM disciplines, new programs were approved to be offered beginning in 2019 and 2020: Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology; Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science + X (X= Theology; Music; History; Political Science); Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering; Bachelor of Science in Data Science; and the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Concentration.
At the same time, the University reemphasized a commitment to the importance of the liberal arts as providing a solid foundation for all graduates. A new, more contemporary, General Education core curriculum began in the fall of 2019. In fall 2019 the University restructured the academic Colleges as follows: College of Aviation, Science and Technology; College of Education and Social Sciences; College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communications; College of Business; and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
As program accreditation became an indicator of quality program standardization nationally, Lewis continued to earn accreditation in 2021 and 2022 for the bachelor’s in computer engineering by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; initial accreditation to the bachelor’s in exercise science by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP); the master’s in project management by the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC); and the master’s in clinical mental health counseling by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Lewis now offers undergraduate programs of study in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, as well as in aviation, business, computer science, communications, criminal justice, education, fine arts, and nursing. Numerous partnerships and dual admission agreements have been developed for pre-professional programs offered in fields such as pre-med, pre-law, and pre-engineering, among others. Graduate programs are available in aviation and transportation, business administration (MBA), business analytics, clinical mental health counseling, criminal justice, data science, numerous education specializations, cyber security, finance, nursing, organizational leadership, project management, public safety administration, school counseling, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy. A dual degree (MSN/MBA) is available. Doctoral programs are offered in educational leadership and nursing practice.
Lewis’ strengths as an institution of higher learning have been evidenced through various sources. The University has been continually cited as one of the best colleges in the region by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Numerous national recognitions continue to be awarded each year from the Colleges of Distinction, Great Value Colleges and Military Times Best for Vets.