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Regents Approve New Degrees For SHSU

May 14, 2010
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

AUSTIN - The first step toward four new degrees was approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing body.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents took the action during its regular quarterly meeting in Austin.

The degree program additions include an online Master of Arts degree with a major in higher education administration, Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in bilingual health care studies, Master of Education degree with a major in international literacy, and Master of Arts degree with a major in Spanish.

All are to be implemented upon final approval by the TSUS regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The graduate program in higher education administration is designed to enhance career-related skills and prepare students for mid-level, higher education leadership.

“Increased accountability for student success initiatives has increased the need for additional institutional higher education administrators in positions such as residence life, student housing, career centers, diversity centers, advancement offices, alumni offices, advising centers, international student offices, enrollment management offices, and other student services,” SHSU President Jim Gaertner told the regents.

“To be considered for many mid-level administrative positions, a master’s or doctoral degree in education administration is required,” he said.

The Bilingual Health Care Studies program will prepare students as bilingual patient navigators in various health care settings. Students will major in health education and minor in a foreign language with an emphasis in a specific linguistic area.

“The patient navigator is more than a typical translator or interpreter who is trained to communicate verbally and in writing with persons of limited English proficiency,” Gaertner told the regents.

“This specialization prepares students to be competent advocates who embrace the diverse cultural issues, religious practices, and specific mores that can create a barrier to patient accessibility and availability to health care,” he said.

According to Gaertner, the linguistic focus areas offered in the program represent the changing cultural demographics of the major Texas health markets and include Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and the Pacific Rim languages of Vietnamese, Korean and Thai.

The Master of Education degree in international literacy is an online master’s program for teachers of English as a second language. Upon completion of the program students will be able to earn an international certificate for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

“SHSU plans to recruit an international community of learners,” Gaertner said.
“Because the program is designed as an online program it will meet the diverse needs of working professionals in the U. S., as well as international students who are unable to relocate to the U. S. to pursue a graduate degree.

“At the same time, it will enable local teachers to complete a graduate degree in education with TESOL certification without leaving their place of employment,” he said.

The Master of Arts in Spanish degree is designed to prepare students for careers as Spanish language educators, interpreters, or bilingual employees in various industries and services.

“The changed and changing demographics in the world, nation, state and area dictate that we educate students with advanced formal skills in Spanish, especially for correctional, educational, governmental, journalistic, legal, military and medical purposes,” Gaertner told the regents. “Such capabilities are now in demand in job descriptions and pay higher salaries.

"Spanish has been identified as a critical need area by the U. S. Department of Education and the Texas State Board of Educator Certification,” he said. “Bilingual and language teachers are needed immediately at all levels. For example, 53 percent of undergraduate students learning languages in U. S. colleges and universities are learning Spanish over other languages, necessitating master’s degree preparation for their instructors.”

SHSU was also authorized to offer the Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees in curriculum and instruction online.

In other business, the board authorized the university to charge the student service fee to all students who are solely enrolled in online courses, effective spring 2011.

Gaertner noted that the medical, student center and recreational sports fees are all aligned with on-campus facilities and services, and students solely enrolled in electronically delivered distance courses have no reasonable expectation of use of those services.

“However,” he explained, “we have discovered that online students do use services covered by the student services fee, such as financial aid, career services and other student service programs.”

Other fee increases include the undergraduate application fee from $40 to $45 and the international undergraduate application fee from $40 to $75, both for freshmen and transfer applicants, and the application fee from $20 to $45 and the international application fee from $20 to $75, both for graduates. The increases would be effective summer 2011.

The university was also authorized to eliminate the undergraduate reapplication fee, the joint admission fee, and the application late fee for undergraduate students and to establish an enrollment fee of $45 for joint admission students charged when they enroll for the first time at SHSU, effective summer 2011.

The regents also approved an increase of the university’s international education fee from $1 to $2, effective spring 2011.

In personnel business, the regents approved the following faculty promotions, effective Sept. 1, 2010:

To associate professor with tenure – Irfan Ahmed, management and marketing; Robin Bittick, political science; Julie Combs, educational leadership ad counseling; Bobby Ezell, curriculum and instruction; Ann Gaillard, biological sciences; Rebecca Garcia, mathematics and statistics; Mack Hines, educational leadership and counseling; Patrick Lewis, biological sciences; Brian Loft, mathematics and statistics; and Darren Williams, chemistry.

To professor – Donald Albert, geography and geology; Patricia Card, music; William Lutterschmidt, biological sciences; Holly Miller, criminal justice; Rebecca Robles-Pina, educational leadership and counseling; and Gene Theodori, sociology.

Tenure was granted to Gaylene Armstrong, associate professor, criminal justice; Todd Armstrong, associate professor, criminal justice; Timothy Jones, associate professor, educational leadership and counseling; Masoud Kazemzadeh, associate professor, political science; and Renee Lee, associate professor, management and marketing.

Sylvia Taube was promoted to associate professor, curriculum and instruction.

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