Several schools within the University of Maryland system are seeking to expand their learning opportunities by offering programs based on health and technology.
USM’s board of directors voted on June 17 to allow five of its institutions to adopt new educational programs, with most of the programs related to the technology and healthcare industries.
The 12 new programs were presented to regents from Copin State University, Towson University, Salisbury University, Frostberg State University and Bowie State University. Each university has introduced its own programs.
Towson and Salisbury have offered new bachelor’s degrees in health sciences.
At Towson, the new program, known as a bachelor’s degree in fitness and wellness leadership, is a continuation of the kinesiology department.
Jaime DeLuca, chairman of the kinesiology department, said the program has been developed over the past few years and combines some aspects of current programming, including exercise science and sports management. She said the program stemmed from the students’ feeling in the department that they could not fit into exercise science or sports management.
“We began to realize that there was a cross between these two programs, which covered a lot of student interest,” DeLuca said.
DeLuca said the program focuses on teaching students how to practice sports and lead a team. She said it will be available from the beginning of the semester in the autumn of 2022 and that more specific classes will be offered in the spring.
Similarly, Frostburg State is expanding its nursing program by introducing a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a pathway for licensed practical nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
According to Frostburg President Ronald Novachik, the school currently has a registered nursing program for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but no four-year program. He said the new programs would allow Frostburg State to provide students with the same four-year experience they could gain at other universities.
“Currently, residents of West Maryland, if you want four years of nursing experience, the nearest public school is Towson,” Novachik said. “But we now want to give people the opportunity to get the same four years of experience and get a bachelor’s degree in nursing here.”
The increase in health programs comes when the world is in its third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to Daray Irani, chief economist at the Towson Institute for Regional Economic Research, the demand for nurses is ahead of the pandemic, which only exacerbates the shortage.
In addition, Iran said that while there may be a demand from students for health-based programs, it will take time for a university to have the infrastructure to take over.
“One of the things you face in college is the ability to teach such majors,” he said. “So we need to get teachers. We need to get facilities that are able to accommodate him. “
Another trend within the proposed educational programs is the emphasis on the technology industry. Bowie State has offered three new bachelor’s and two new industry-related master’s programs.
Carl Goodman, rector and vice president of academic affairs at Bowie State, said the university did feasibility studies when it began thinking about new academic programs and saw great demand for jobs in technology.
He also pointed to the need for more diversity in the technology industry and how Bowie State, a historic black university, could help provide these learning opportunities for its students.
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“We tried to diversify our academic portfolio in terms of just being a traditional institution for liberal arts, knowing that we also look at market demand, that’s where … that we also support and provide to our students and definitely those students. , who are minorities, come to HBCU, an opportunity to really get that experience first hand, ”Goodman said.
Supporting Iran, John Michel, an associate professor at Loyola University in Maryland, said academic proposals from universities were not necessarily indicative of the current job market.
He said there had been a need for more technology-related jobs over the past decade, and that many universities were still catching up.
“I think the higher ED is moving very slowly,” Michelle said. “At best, it moves at a snail’s pace. It’s almost impossible for things to happen very quickly. “
While agreeing with Michelle, Mac McComas, senior program manager for the 21st Century Cities Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, said a link could be made between the new degree proposals and the current job market.
“I think this is really a response to a long trend and a long-standing need for this search, where you will again see this and the two industries in which the US has brought a lot of talent, somehow internationally for health and technology … related jobs and in fact we failed to produce enough of this talent locally. “