New BGSU degrees targeted to workforce needs

The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees at its May 4 meeting approved new academic degrees designed to meet society’s needs.

BGSU is continuing to develop academic programs that prepare students for good jobs that meet the workforce needs of the region. The trustees approved new degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels targeted to growth areas.

A new Bachelor of Science in technical and applied studies will be offered by BGSU Firelands beginning in fall 2018. The second of Firelands’ four-year degrees, it is a flexible, interdisciplinary degree-completion program for both traditional and nontraditional students. It focuses on “small business enterprise” and is designed to provide graduates the specific skills and knowledge needed to successfully develop and operate small businesses or to contribute to the success of a small business as an employee. It was created in direct response to two years of meetings with regional groups in the Erie County corridor who shared the community’s economic development needs.

Likewise, a new Master of Health Care Administration degree approved at the May 4 meeting will help meet the growing demand for professionals in leadership positions in today’s complex, rapidly changing health care and health services industries. A combination of coursework, offered both in class and online, along with experiential learning will prepare students to “plan, direct, supervise and coordinate the delivery of health care.” The program is targeted to working professionals who wish to advance in their careers, and has received support from numerous health care administrators around the region.

The new degree complements BGSU’s master’s program in nursing home administration and covers topics from health care finance and economics to human resources to law and ethics and management of information systems. It will be offered on the Bowling Green campus.

Long a leader in the state in the area of computer science, the University will expand its programs in the area of data science with new master’s and Ph.D. degree programs, which will be among the very few offered in Ohio. With a primary focus on the Ph.D. and the option to stop at the master’s, the interdisciplinary program includes coursework in applied statistics and operations research, computer science, and mathematics and statistics.

Addressing the extent to which data science permeates life today, the humanities are also included, with courses in the ethics of data science and other topics. A research-based degree program, it will train future experts to develop and apply new techniques for working with data sets and data-modeling problems. The degrees build upon BGSU’s recently approved data science undergraduate degree program, which has a technology-enhanced curriculum, created by Distinguished University Professor James Albert and Dr. Maria Rizzo of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Their work has been supported by $800,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation and the state of Ohio in response to the urgent need for leaders in data-intensive data-analytics groups in government and industry and for academics to conduct research and teach in the areas of “Big Data.”

BGSU is also expanding its programs that prepare professionals to lead change in their workplace with the addition of an executive doctorate in organizational development and change. Widely known for its groundbreaking Master of Organization Development (MOD) degree program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, BGSU will now offer an opportunity for working professionals to extend their academic credentials and their skill sets. The program will be housed in the management department in the College of Business and will partner with industrial/organizational psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences; it will also include coursework in other areas for an all-around mastery. Students will finish the program by designing and carrying out a capstone project in which they work with an organization to identify a problem, develop and implement a plan of action for change, and analyze the results.

“It’s the next step in the evolution of our organization change programs,” said Dr. John Fischer, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

As a public institution of higher education, BGSU is committed to serving the public, which includes increasing economic activity in the state. To encourage and support faculty whose work would be beneficial to economic development, the trustees approved a third pathway to tenure and promotion in the area of creative or scholarly contributions to the discipline, as called for in the Ohio Revised Code. While the traditional areas of teaching, research and publishing continue, embedded in the research and scholarship component is now recognition for participation in activity that leads to commercialization of significant innovations or inventions. Such work will now count as criteria toward tenure and promotion. This activity can include patents, licensing of intellectual property or other related activity, to be determined with faculty’s academic units.