BGSU trustees approve academic program updates during December meeting to drive student success and outcomes

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Offering in-demand degrees that meet workforce needs, Bowling Green State University is adapting its academic programs to support student success and outcomes and drive Ohio's economic vitality now and into the future.

At their December meeting, the BGSU Board of Trustees approved degree and program updates, honored distinguished alumni who have created public good and authorized plans for continued campus improvements.

Degree and program updates

During the Dec. 8 meeting, the board approved updates to five degree and academic programs across four BGSU colleges to align with professional and industry standards and support learning outcomes.

In the College of Education and Human Development, trustees authorized the renaming of the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies to the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science.

The undergraduate program's update aligns its naming with national standards while also serving to emphasize the science-based research, teaching and service activities of faculty, students and staff.

The BGSU Human Development and Family Science program prepares students to strengthen individuals and families through collaborative work, active learning, community engagement and study abroad opportunities.

Also in the college, the Board of Trustees endorsed the change of the Leadership Studies doctoral degree designation from Ed.D. to Ph.D. to better support its multidisciplinary field of study and position graduates for their desired career paths.

Founded in 1998, the BGSU Leadership Studies graduate program prepares learners to exercise and develop critical leadership and creative thinking skills that, in turn, empower organizations to attain their specific goals and objectives.

In the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, the board approved the renaming of the Bachelor of Science Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology program to Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology.

Supporting student and workforce needs, the program provides comprehensive offerings for learners who seek a more hands-on approach to academic curriculum and the name change aligns with industry accreditation outcomes and requirements

Starting in Fall 2024, BGSU will launch three new academic programs in robotics engineeringelectronic and computer engineering, and mechanical and manufacturing engineering, providing a unique blend of science and engineering application that employers say is needed in the current and future industry landscape.

Committed to meeting students where they are, trustees supported the University offering a 100% online option for the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program housed in the College of Health and Human Services.

Through BGSU Online, students in the online criminal justice program will learn from the same quality, world-class faculty as the University's in-person programs. The fully online degree will meet the needs of working law enforcement professionals, providing flexibility and increased opportunities for career advancement with a four-year degree.

At the University's Huron campus, the Board of Trustees confirmed a name change for the Associate of Applied Business in Computer Science Technology to Associate of Applied Business in Computer Networking and Cybersecurity.

The update to the BGSU Firelands degree will empower students with a strong set of foundational knowledge and skills in the information technology field while also providing preparation to pass and obtain eight industry certifications.

"At BGSU, we are dedicated to providing an education of value that supports student success and workforce needs," said Dr. Joe B. Whitehead Jr., provost and senior vice president at BGSU. "These academic updates highlight the University's commitment to offering in-demand programs adapted to benefit the public and industry partners. I commend our faculty for their commitment to innovative teaching, research and creative activities that ensure a BGSU education remains relevant and of value to students and employers alike."

Honoring alumni who create public good

The BGSU Board of Trustees also recognized distinguished alumni for their commitment to creating public good in their careers, lives and communities.

Trustees unanimously approved honorary doctorate degrees in Public Service and Music Education, respectively, for James B. Karugu '62 and Maj. Ryan J. Nowlin '00, '04 for their distinguished careers and embodiment of the power of a BGSU education.

James B. Karugu '62

A native of Kenya, James B. Karugu was the first African to study at BGSU when he arrived on campus in 1958.

After graduating from the University in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Karugu went on to study law and returned to Kenya in 1964 where he pursued a career in law and public service.

In 1981, Karugu was appointed by Kenya's president to serve as the country's attorney general. In that role, he served as Kenya's chief legal officer and prosecutor as well as legal adviser to the president and parliament. Following a storied career in government, Karugu went on to become one of Kenya’s most successful commercial coffee farmers.

“Throughout his life, Mr. Karugu had a deep understanding of the transformational power of education,” BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers said. “He was a visionary in seeking advanced international educational opportunities and in recognizing how broad academic experiences could shape the future of his country, Kenya. As the first African in history to attend BGSU, a world away from all he had known, Mr. Karugu forged a path that many have since followed and created a legacy of service to his country.”

While earning his degree, Karugu worked many jobs on campus, including janitor, switchboard operator and babysitter for future Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton. Karugu was also heavily involved in the vibrant University learning community, serving as president of the International Students’ Society, which led to speaking engagements and support from local service organizations and area churches.

In 2010, he was named one of the University's 100 prominent alumni for his distinguished career as a lawyer, farmer, businessman, community servant and global leader.

Karugu died in November 2022 at the age of 86, leaving a legacy of service and community engagement.

Maj. Ryan J. Nowlin '00, '04

A two-time BGSU graduate, Maj. Ryan J. Nowlin earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2000 and a master’s degree in music education and conducting in 2004 and currently serves as executive officer, associate director and education officer for "The President’s Own" United States Marine Band.

Prior to his commissioning in the Armed Forces, Nowlin was an adjunct professor at BGSU before pursuing a 10-year career as a music teacher, including serving as director of bands at Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District near Cleveland.

In August 2010, he joined the United States Marine Band as a staff arranger and was appointed assistant director and commissioned as an officer.

Since then, Nowlin has arranged and composed a variety of music for the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, brass ensembles and various small ensembles. He has also written arrangements for a variety of artists, including Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. He also arranged “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Jordin Sparks, which was performed for the national broadcast of the anthem’s 200th anniversary.

Additionally, Nowlin composed the concert march honoring the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps and wrote a march to honor 100 years of women’s service in the Marine Corps. He has also served as a producer for the Marine Band's annual recordings, The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa recording project and for the Emmy award-winning program “New England Triptych” in partnership with the All-Star Orchestra.

As an education officer, he manages multiple outreach initiatives and has been involved in the Marine Band’s Young People’s Concerts since 2011. Nowlin also frequently appears as a guest conductor with high school honor bands, community and municipal bands and with university ensembles across the country.

“Maj. Nowlin has made an incredible impact on music as a nationally recognized educator, composer, arranger, author and conductor,” President Rogers said. “While his music is heard worldwide, including during presidential inaugurations and numerous White House events, we are most proud that some of his earliest work was first heard at BGSU inside our very own Doyt L. Perry Stadium. In addition to his esteemed career, Maj. Nowlin has been a longtime advocate of music education and has created a legacy in sharing his passion for music with generations to follow.”

Outside of military service, Nowlin and co-author Bruce Pearson have published method textbooks that are used in lessons and performances by bands around the globe.

At BGSU, Nowlin's Centennial Fanfare was selected for the University's 100th anniversary celebration. He also composed a fanfare to honor a century of BGSU bands, which was performed by the Falcon Marching Band this fall during the Homecoming football game's halftime show.

Action items of the board

Guided by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the board authorized the adoption of a six-year capital plan, which includes broad categories to address existing and anticipated academic program needs and maintain campus infrastructure.

Through the capital plan, BGSU will use funding to continue replacing aging campus network infrastructure, advance renovation plans in the Technology Building for the School of Engineering and enable future revitalization of additional science, technology, engineering and mathematics buildings.

Other projects include ongoing deferred building maintenance on the Bowling Green and Huron campuses.

Updated: 03/14/2024 02:02PM