Spotlighting New & Innovative Programs

physicsSouthern has begun a targeted marketing campaign of several programs as part of an effort to increase university enrollment.

With the number of high school graduates declining each year, higher education institutions across the nation are being challenged to maintain their enrollment levels. The university is seeking to create and bolster academic programs that show promise of significant student enrollment and growth.

"We have so many excellent programs at Southern, but we have chosen several that we believe have the best potential to grow significantly in numbers over the next several years," says Marianne Kennedy, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Among the newly created programs in the spotlight are: an accelerated Master of Business Administration degree; a certificate in accounting and a B.S. and B.A. degree programs in interdisciplinary studies. The existing programs that are being highlighted are Master of Science degrees in computer science, exercise science and applied physics, which are all being reinvigorated to boost enrollment.

The accelerated M.B.A. is designed for the hardworking professional seeking to advance their careers. Students can earn their degree in 17 months through a combination of Saturday and online courses.

The certificate in accounting is designed for individuals who are seeking to become a Certified Public Accountant. The certificate is a major stepping stone toward being eligible to take the CPA exam.

The B.S./B.A. in interdisciplinary studies offers students an alternative to a traditional major, enabling them to design their own program of study. This flexibility allows them to tailor their coursework in distinctive directions. The B.A. combines two concentrations, such as environmental studies/marine studies, media studies/ethnic studies or criminal justice/forensic science. The B.S. combines three concentrations, such as public health/sociology/biology or Spanish/Latin American studies/political science.

The M.S. in computer science has been restructured so that its emphasis is on two tracks – cybersecurity and software development – to better reflect trends in that field. The M.S. in exercise science has two available concentrations – human performance and sports psychology. The human performance concentration includes assessment of cardio-pulmonary fitness, body composition and muscle/joint strength and stability and biomechanical analysis. The sports psychology concentration includes an in-depth study of health psychology, performance enhancement and intervention.

The M.S. applied physics has two tracks – materials science/nanotechnology and optics/optical instrumentation – and is intended for individuals seeking applied research and management positions in the high-tech industry. In turn, that would help develop the state's workforce.

President Mary A. Papazian has offered her thanks for the faculty who have devised and implemented these programs.

"If this new marketing approach is successful, as we believe it will be, it will not only boost our enrollment, but provide a template for future academic programming by departments campus wide," she says.