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TSUS Regents Authorize New College, Additional Degrees

May 24, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved a number of requests from Sam Houston State University relating to academic programs at the board’s regular quarterly meeting at Texas State University-San Marcos on Friday.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board must now approve each item before implementation.

With final approval, SHSU will go forward with plans to offer:

  • A Master of Arts degree with a major in digital media within the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication;
  • A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in computer science and a program in software engineering within the College of Sciences;
  • A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in interdisciplinary agriculture and a program in agriculture communications within the College of Sciences;
  • A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in industrial technology with a program in electronics and computer engineering technology within the College of Sciences;
  • A graduate certificate for bilingual (Spanish) educational diagnostician within the College of Education; and
  • A Master of Arts degree in communication studies through distance learning.

The M.A. program in digital media will offer two areas of emphasis: digital media studies and digital media production. The studies emphasis will focus on mass communication research methods and theories and can be used as a basis for continued studies at the Ph.D. level or to teach at the college level.

The production emphasis will offer advanced practices in digital journalism, television, public relations/advertising, and radio needed to work in executive management and upper-level reporter, producer, filmmaker, and creative manager media positions.

The objective of the B.S. degree with a major in computer science and a program in software engineering is to prepare students for employment in software design, production testing, and maintenance.

“CNN Money identified software engineering as one of the most lucrative and in-demand professional positions in the United States, with more than 44,000 positions available annually and demand exceeding supply by about 50 percent,” SHSU President Dana Gibson told the regents.

The B.S. degree in interdisciplinary agriculture and a program in agricultural communications will address the expectation by the United States Department of Agriculture that 6,200 average annual job openings will occur in education, communication, and governmental operations involved with agricultural and food systems. The report indicates that those who are communicators proficient in multimedia and social media operations will hold the strongest employment positions.

The B.S. degree in industrial technology and a program in electronics and computer engineering technology will prepare graduates for employment in hardware design, embedded system applications, computer systems analysis, and computer equipment maintenance/repair.

The bilingual (Spanish) educational diagnostician graduate certificate program will train education diagnosticians who have Spanish and English language competence to establish language dominance and proficiency, conduct assessments, and interpret results in order to make an accurate and ethical determination of disabilities for children in school settings.

“The number of school-age children who are English language learners has grown exponentially in Texas, with Hispanic children constituting the majority of school-age children in the state,” Gibson told the regents. “Individuals holding this certificate will be able to fill a critical need in Texas public schools.”

SHSU was also authorized to offer the Master of Arts degree in communication studies through distance learning.

“This online program will accommodate the educational needs of working professionals in the fields of training and development, public relations, and government relations and will prepare students to work in various areas of communication including high school and community college teaching,” Gibson said.

“The online format will provide access to graduate education for working professionals and others who are unable to pursue on-campus coursework due to job obligations and geographic locations,” she said.

In other academic business, the regents authorized SHSU to add a College of Health Sciences; rename the Department of Nursing to the School of Nursing; move the School of Nursing in the College of Science to the College of Health Sciences; and move the Department of Health and Kinesiology from the College of Education to the College of Health Sciences.

“Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014 will drive the need for an expanded health professions workforce,” Gibson said. “One estimate indicates a need for 400,000 new health professional in Texas during this decade in addition to replacing a rapidly aging health professions workforce that accounts for at least 10 percent of Texas jobs.

“Furthermore, recent data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that adjacent counties east and northeast of Sam Houston State University are considered the least healthiest in Texas,” she said.

“SHSU currently offers only a small number of health sciences degree programs, yet there are currently 1,348 students actively enrolled in pre-nursing or other pre-professional programs, most of whom will be denied admission to the Bachelor of Science Nursing program or other programs due to limited capacity,” Gibson said.

“New degree programs in the College of Health Sciences will provide expanded access to health sciences education and careers for SHSU students, especially those from adjacent counties east and northeast of Huntsville,” she said.

In other business, SHSU was granted permission to add a swimming pool to the University Camp Phase 2 Project.



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