BGSU trustees approve two new degree programs for emerging career pathways

The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees at its Dec. 7 meeting approved two new degree programs, both aimed at meeting workforce needs and providing additional career opportunities for BGSU graduates.

The University's new Bachelor of Science in resort and attraction management program (RAAM) is designed to prepare managers for the multibillion-dollar resort and attraction industry. A degree-completion program offered through BGSU Firelands, it will be only the fourth such academic program in the world, and just the second in the U nited States.

Unique to the BGSU program is a partnership with Cedar Fair, a widely recognized industry leader. The company will provide students on-the-job training opportunities through paid co-ops. Additionally, the final two years of the program will be taught by BGSU faculty at a multipurpose facility developed by Cedar Fair in downtown Sandusky.

"This is an innovative, high-demand bachelor's degree," President Rodney Rogers  said. "It will benefit the University, Cedar Fair and the community. As a public university, we are always looking at how best to serve our communities and be responsive to workforce needs."

BGSU worked with Cedar Fair and with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions in composing the curriculum and practicums to ensure they meet industry standards and prepare students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their jobs. They will study such topics as finance and accounting, guest services, facilities management and food and beverage service—all in a resort or attraction context.

The program must still be approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission, the University's accrediting body. BGSU hopes to launch the program in 2020.

Likewise, the new Bachelor of Arts in physics strengthens workforce development, Dr. John Fischer, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said. It complements the existing Bachelor of Science degree in physics but is aimed at a different student audience: those who wish to focus on applied, rather than theoretical, physics. The degree will prepare them to work in such fields as computer science, technology or business and to enter the workforce directly from their undergraduate program. Instead of engaging in a research project, they may instead participate in an internship. They will take fewer physics courses but more math and chemistry courses.

"This provides an alternative pathway to employment through the sciences," Fischer said.

In his update to the board, Fischer reported that student persistence and retention are high, and enrollment for spring semester is very strong.

In other action, the trustees approved repairs and upgrades to Bowling Green campus facilities. The 10-story Offenhauer Towers, a student residence hall, will undergo $1.7 million in waterproofing and masonry repairs to address deficiencies found in a recent evaluation. The work will ensure the brick-clad concrete and block towers and their one-story connector remain watertight for the foreseeable future. The repairs will be performed in the summers of 2019 and 2020.

In addition, this summer BGSU will continue its master plan program of converting existing classrooms to the active-learning model, and right-sizing them to meet current needs. The Moore Musical Arts Center will receive upgrades to nine classrooms, including more flexible seating, improved finishes and additional technology and equipment. Moore Center classrooms are utilized by other disciplines in addition to music. The $1.3 million cost will come from the University's classroom upgrade reserve funds.

"We've made enormous progress in creating active learning classrooms," Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll said.

The trustees also set the cost of BGSU's new online Master of Business Administration program for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. In-state student tuition for the MBA program will be $19,040, and out-of-state students will pay $19,392. The 32-credit program can be completed in three semesters, but the tuition is guaranteed for five consecutive semesters to allow students more flexibility.

The online program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals who cannot attend BGSU's in-person professional or executive MBA programs. The flexible schedule allows participants to proceed at their own pace. Students can enroll in any of six session starting times and take two, seven-week courses per session or four courses per semester .

BGSU continues to benefit from the support of donors. The board approved the naming of two spaces in honor of benefactors.

An alumni family gift honors their parents' legacy and support. The Dr. Joseph F. Castellano and Mrs. Cecilia M. Castellano Counseling Room in University Hall is named for the parents of Cecilia A. Castellano and Robert Ashenfelter, Frank and Amy Castellano and Joe and Jennifer Castellano. Dr. Joseph Castellano, who retired in May, was an accounting professor for 30 years at Wright State University and for 20 years before that at the University of Dayton. He served as dean of the College of Business at both universities. Cecilia M. Castellano taught junior high school religion and English for more than 40 years.

Daughter Cecilia A. Castellano, a two-time BGSU alumna, is the University's vice provost for strategic enrollment planning. Frank Castellano attended BGSU before transferring to Wright State University to study medicine. He is a neuroradiologist and president at Columbus Radiology in Columbus, Ohio. Joe Castellano earned a bachelor's degree in technology in 1993 from BGSU, where he played football for the Falcons and was part of the 1991 championship team. He owns the Amber Rose restaurant in Dayton.

The name of Hiroko Nakamoto is well known on the BGSU campus, in terms of service to the University, physical spaces, endowments, scholarships and programs. A 1954 graduate in fine arts and recipient of an honorary doctorate in 1992, Nakamoto has been a longtime and serious supporter of the University, and has recently presented another significant gift. The trustees honored her with the naming of the Hiroko Nakamoto Lecture Hall in the Fine Arts Center.

Nakamoto is the founder, owner and president of Hiroko Nakamoto Interior Design Studio. She designed the Japanese Ceremonial Tea Room in the BGSU Fine Arts Center. She has also served as a director on the BGSU Foundation Board and is a member of The Presidents Club, 1910 Society and Leadership Circle. In 1973, she received the BGSU Distinguished Alumna Award.

She established the Hiroko Nakamoto Japanese Studies Scholarship, the Hiroko Nakamoto Peace Studies Endowment, the Nakamoto Japanese Gardens fund, the Hiroko Nakamoto Peace Lecture Endowment and the Hiroko Nakamoto Fund for Japanese Education. She has contributed to the Building Dreams Campaign, the Student Union Capital Improvement Endowment, the Medici Circle Patrons of Art fund, the School of Art Addition, and the College of Arts and Sciences. She has also gifted numerous pieces of traditional Japanese artwork to BGSU's Fine Arts Gallery Collection.