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Source: Candice Shoemaker, 785-532-1431,
News release prepared by: Rosanna Vail, 785-532-2720,

Friday, July 10, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's department of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources and Division of Continuing Education will offer a 16-credit hour graduate certificate program in horticultural therapy beginning this fall.

The program will train professionals to use live plants and the growing environment to heal and rehabilitate people.

Candice Shoemaker, professor of horticulture and director of the program, said the new graduate certificate at K-State was developed to meet the demand for distance learning programs in horticultural therapy, an emerging profession and practice.

"This new program responds to the need for graduate-level horticultural therapy practitioner training to keep pace in the allied therapy health field and international and national demand to K-State for educational opportunities in horticultural therapy," Shoemaker said.

Horticultural therapy is accepted as a viable treatment for individuals in places like vocational training centers, rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, veterans' facilities, hospice, alcohol treatment centers and cancer treatment centers. It has been linked to positive outcomes like creating a sense of hope, reducing stress, developing social and cognitive skills and improving the quality of life in patients.

"We are very excited about the new horticultural therapy certificate program, as it will offer a timely and strategic response to the horticultural therapy profession during a time when the educational standards are being raised," said Dave Stewart, assistant dean for program development in K-State's Division of Continuing Education.

The development of the graduate certificate follows a long history of horticultural therapy studies at K-State.

"K-State was the first university to offer a bachelor's degree in horticultural therapy in 1973 and has the longest-running undergraduate and graduate programs of any university," Shoemaker said. "This distinguished role of leadership in education and research continues with the fall launch of the first distance learning graduate certificate program in horticultural therapy."

Most course work for the graduate certificate program will be offered online, and the curriculum consists of five required graduate-level courses that may be applied to a K-State master's degree.

"The graduate certificate program has the advantage of online accessibility and will be supported by an internationally recognized faculty," Stewart said.

The K-State Division of Continuing Education's grant process provided funding for the development of the program. These grants support new distance education initiatives and help enhance existing distance programs.

More information about K-State's horticultural therapy program, including application information, is available at

For a complete listing of available programs contact the K-State Division of Continuing Education at 1-800-622-2578 or