Regents Approve New Degrees in Cybersecurity, Global Cultures and Languages

IMG_8192CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 8, 2010 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a new bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity and a bachelor of arts degree in global cultures and languages.

The Board also approved a new pre-physician assistant option on the bachelor of science degree in biology; removed several programs, including an option and a minor; and renamed the Department of Foreign Languages and Anthropology to the Department of Global Cultures and Languages to take effect with the fall 2011 semester.

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

The new bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity is to meet society’s growing dependence on the Internet for communications and electronic digital records for storage of personal, financial, health and governmental records.

“The security of these systems is critical, and the demand for cybersecurity professionals has never been greater, said Dr. Ron Rosati, Southeast provost.

Rosati said the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics, projects a 20 percent growth of jobs in this field nationally, accounting for 135,300 jobs by 2018, with Missouri anticipating a 21 percent growth by 2018.  Members of the Southeast Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, representing computer security and forensics interest for organizations in banking, health care, telecommunications, manufacturing and law enforcement, also are reporting a regional need for cybersecurity professionals, he said.

The new program uses existing foundation courses offered on campus in telecommunications, computer science and mathematics, and adds six new capstone courses. Rosati says one existing faculty position in the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology will be dedicated to the program and the new courses. A national search is currently being conducted to fill this position.

The Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology has equipment funds to start the program but will be soliciting grant funding to further develop the lab needed for this program, Rosati said.

Bachelor of Arts in Global Cultures and Languages

The Board of Regents approved the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Languages and Anthropology to add a new bachelor of arts in global cultures and languages.   The new degree was developed in response to the accelerating global interdependence of modern societies, cultures and economies. The degree also resolves a number of curricular issues, such as graduation rates for Southeast’s bachelor of arts degrees in anthropology, French, German, global studies and Spanish.  The new degree, Rosati says, incorporates these previous bachelor of arts degrees into one major, with options in anthropology, foreign language and global studies.

As a result, the Board today eliminated the bachelor of arts programs in anthropology, French, German, global studies and Spanish, and renamed the Department of Foreign Languages and Anthropology to the Department of Global Cultures and Languages. The new department name is effective with the fall 2011 semester.

Bachelor of Science in Biology: Pre-Physician Assistant Option

Students who complete the new pre-physician assistant option on the bachelor of science degree in biology and acquire certification as physician assistants by completing a master’s degree program at an accredited University will help fill a critical need for trained medical professionals, Rosati said. According to US News and World Report last December, physician assistants are one of the fastest growing professions in the country, due to the retirement of baby boomers, shortage of primary care physicians in rural areas and the need to reduce healthcare costs, he said.

Rosati said the new option will provide a viable alternative path into the medical field for students who pursue the biomedical sciences option on the bachelor of science degree in biology. Currently, about 75 percent of incoming freshmen biology majors declare a pre-professional option with the intent of pursuing a medical degree upon completing their bachelor of science degree. However, on average, only 10 percent remain in the option by senior year, Rosati said. The remaining 65 percent either change their option within biology or choose an alternative major.  The pre-physician assistant option is an excellent area of study for those students.

There are more opportunities for admission into a physician assistant program and the admissions requirements are somewhat less rigorous than that required for medical school, he said. Rosati says the courses required for this option are already taught at Southeast, so no additional courses are required to be added to the curriculum.  Students completing this program would need to complete a physician assistant graduate program to become certified as a physician’s assistant.

Programs, Minor, Option Eliminated

Due to low enrollments and lack of demand, the Regents today eliminated certificate programs in design drafting, electronics and graphic technology in the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology.

Community Wellness and Leisure Services Option Eliminated on MPA

Due to low enrollments and lack of demand, the Regents today eliminated the option in community wellness and leisure services from the Master of Public Administration degree. Prior to today’s action, the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation approved the deletion of the option, Rosati said.

Elimination of Geography Minor

Due to low enrollment and lack of demand for the minor in geography, the Regents today approved the removal of this minor. The elimination was previously approved by the Department of Foreign Languages and Anthropology, Rosati said.