WMU News

Trustees approve new majors, other academic changes

July 2, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Acting at their June 30 regular meeting, Western Michigan University trustees approved two new majors and authorized changes to several other academic programs.

Members of the Board of Trustees approved proposals to offer majors in electronic business design as well as telecommunications and information management.

The electronic business design major, known as eBizD, will be housed in the Department of Business Information Systems, as part of the Computer Information Systems division. Beginning with the fall 2004 semester, the bachelor's-level program will train Haworth College of Business students to become information technology professionals with the skills to apply Internet technologies to manage corporate resources and develop business applications. The new major has been carefully designed to capitalize on existing resources, and will require no additional faculty members or funding.

The business information systems CIS division will also partner with the Department of Communication to offer a telecommunications and information management major, beginning this fall. The new interdisciplinary major will replace the existing major in telecommunications management. Students who graduate from the program will be trained in a variety of telecommunications and data communication sub-disciplines, including telephony, data base management, network operations, cable television, satellite communication and Internet communication. The program's mission is to give students a well-balanced education in a variety of business and technical management issues. By combining the expertise of both communication and computer information systems faculty, organizers hope to offer a 21st-century approach to the study of telecommunications and information technology.

The board also voted to add three new concentrations within the doctor of philosophy in educational leadership. Those concentrations include K-12 leadership, organizational analysis, and career and technical education. An enhanced research component is being added to all three concentrations.

The three new concentrations are spin-offs of existing concentrations within the existing doctoral degree in educational leadership. The new concentration in K-12 leadership will combine existing superintendent and central office administration concentrations. The concentration in organizational analysis will replace the former "general" concentration. The name of the career technical education concentration will remain the same, but curriculum will be enhanced.

The program changes will better support working professionals in the area of educational accountability, in which enhanced research and data analysis skills are essential. As part of the plan, the existing doctoral degree in educational leadership will be eliminated, except for students already enrolled in the program.

Trustees also voted to add two new degree programs--a master of arts in art education, which is a spin-off from the existing master of fine arts, and a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary health services with occupational therapy concentration.

The new art education degree is intended for art educators and includes art education and specially focused studio course work. It is designed to meet the needs of art educators for advanced preparation in research and curriculum development, while providing strong foundations in theory and practice related to teaching art.

The degree differs from the existing terminal studio master of fine arts degree, which prepares recipients to become practicing artists and teach studio at the university level. The new degree fills a gap by meeting the needs of art teachers for advanced professional preparation, with the area of concentration and electives chosen from graduate-level course work specifically designed to address the ongoing professional needs of practicing art teachers in pedagogy, art theory, art history and studio rather than being limited to studio art courses.

The new degree is directed toward certified art teachers. Roughly 30 or more students are expected to enroll in it.

The new Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary health services with a concentration in occupational therapy offers a "4+1" or five-year program leading to a master of science in occupational therapy.

The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education will require a master's degree for the practice of occupational therapy starting in 2007. In response, the WMU Department of Occupational Therapy is implementing the new five-year program that begins with the completion of a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary health services with a concentration in occupational therapy. After a six-month internship, students will return to campus to complete a one-year master of science in OT.

Enrollment in the new program is expected to be comparable to the existing undergraduate occupational therapy program.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400