BGSU to offer new degrees in allied health, forensic sciences

BGSU is responding to today's workforce needs with two new degree programs that will prepare graduates for additional career opportunities. Approved by the board of trustees Dec. 3 were a bachelor of science in allied health and a master of science in forensic science. In addition, the trustees approved an innovative support program for students with learning differences and attention challenges, named the Falcon Learning Your Way (FLY) Program.

"Both these new degree programs are based upon solid data regarding not only which professionals are needed today, but also those that will be needed in the future," said David Levey, chair of the BGSU board. "The University is committed to using its resources to equip our students to be ready for emerging careers and to help supply the workforce Ohio requires for a vital economy."

Offered through the University's Department of Public and Allied Health, the allied health bachelor's degree is a degree-completion program for those who hold associate degrees in related disciplines where there is no discipline-specific bachelor's degree available, such as dental hygiene or medical sonography.

It will build on prior learning and allow students to advance in their chosen fields by expanding their skills into such areas as research involving data collection and analysis and effective management in allied health-care settings.

The required courses are part of BGSU's Pathway to Completion offerings, and are presented online through eCampus in a format that will be flexible and convenient for the working professional. eCampus courses are of six- or eight-week duration, and students may join the program at the start of any of the sessions. Students currently in the associate degree programs will be provided a more seamless pathway to the four-year degree. The new degree also complements BGSU Firelands' increased focus on the allied health professions.

Health care makes up about 18 percent of the U.S. economy, and is expected to soon become one of the fastest-growing industries. As the demand for health care grows, shortages of allied health professionals are predicted.

The new master's degree in forensic science (MSFS) builds upon the University's recent addition of forensic specializations in three undergraduate degree programs: criminal justice (forensic investigation), biological sciences and chemistry. Likewise, the master's program will offer those three specializations.

An interdisciplinary program that is professionally oriented, the program is geared toward both the current group of undergraduate students in the three forensic specialization programs as well as to working professionals who wish to improve their skills and knowledge to advance in their careers.

It is designed to teach students to use forensic science techniques to gather and analyze crime evidence and present it in a way that is admissible and understandable in a legal setting. Graduates will be qualified to take jobs in government agencies or private businesses that deal with forensic evidence.

Because of the rapidly developing technology for dealing with forensic evidence and the accompanying demand for such evidence in the court system, more practitioners are needed with both the technical and legal skills to work effectively.

The location of the new Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation facility on the BGSU campus last year was the impetus for new areas of specialization that meet a growing need in society and offer strong career opportunities for students. That is complemented by The Ohio Attorney General's Center for the Future of Forensic Science, which also offers rich opportunities for interaction with BGSU and for professional development.

The FLY Program approved by the trustees will begin in fall 2016 and is designed for admitted students who have identified learning or attention challenges. A compact among the students, their parents and the University, it will provide students an intensive, all-around support system as they make the transition from high school to college - a particular challenge for those with learning differences.

Each student will be assigned a certified learning specialist who will devise an individual academic support plan for him or her and coordinate with other University resources such as the Learning Commons, academic advisers, Counseling Center, Office of Campus Activities, and Student Disability Services.

The learning specialist will keep in close contact with the student, parents and other team members to help the student stay on track to be successful. Peer social events will be planned and connections with the Office of Campus Activities made, and students can attend special workshops on topics such as time management and study skills.

The board approved a $2,500 per-semester fee for FLY program participants to support the additional services provided.

In other action, after completing President Mary Ellen Mazey’s annual review, the board approved awarding her a 2 percent raise for 2015-16, the same percentage all non-bargaining unit employees were eligible to receive this year, and a $50,000 bonus in deferred compensation as provided for in her contract.