During last week’s Board of Regents meeting, the chair of the academic and student success committee announced that four new degree programs have been approved for the University of Houston’s curriculum.
Chairman Jacob M. Monty, who has been a part of the board since 2008, said the four degrees — a Master of Science in Industrial Design, a Master of Athletic Training, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Integrated Communication and a Bachelor of Arts in World Cultures and Literature — are expected to be available as early as the Fall 2013 semester, but the degrees have yet to be reviewed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
“Our faculty reached a consensus on the curriculum and then committees at the college level and university level reviewed the proposal,” said Beth Olson, director and associate professor at the School of Communication.
The M.S. in Industrial Design will be the first program in Texas, according to an official Board of Regents agenda, as no other university in the state offers such a program. It was designed to enhance the College of Architecture and will include coursework and design lab experience to help students be able to construct new forms of design knowledge that benefit regional industries such as medical, energy, aerospace, information technology and entertainment, according to the agenda.
The Master of Athletic Training — the first of its kind in Houston universities — is expected to prepare students for the growing demand and changing laws in healthcare and an aging population.
In response to the transforming communications industry, the integrated communication major is being developed, Olson said.
“The areas of advertising, corporate communication and public relations are being integrated in many organizations, forming a single unit,” Olson said.
“We will continue to provide opportunities for students interested in specializing in those three disciplines, but we also want to allow students the opportunity to integrate all those areas of study. This is another way we are creating opportunities for students to succeed because they are able to provide a broad range of communication skills for their employers.”
The Bachelor of Arts in World Cultures and Literature, is a curriculum based in language and area studies programs and will be proposed to include concentrations such as ancient studies, global modernity, global cinema, German studies, francophone cultures and middle eastern studies.
All of the programs are expected to be staffed with existing full-time and part-time faculty members. The Master of Athletic Training will require a full-time program director and clinical coordinator and will also draw from people associated with NASA and Memorial Hermann Hospital.
“We view (the addition of these degrees) as part of the continuing university-wide efforts to improve the quality of our education and increase our value to the community,” Olson said.