WMU to offer two new interdisciplinary majors

Contact: Valorie Juergens

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has added two new interdisciplinary undergraduate majors--electronic business marketing and health informatics and information technology.

Both new majors were recently approved by the WMU Board of Trustees, along with a coordinating minor for the health informatics program that will allow students in related disciplines the opportunity to tap the resources of the new major. The programs are available to students beginning with the fall 2012 semester.

Electronic business marketing

Electronic business marketing is a program that combines the study of marketing and information systems in an interdisciplinary curriculum, offered through the Department of Marketing and the Department of Business Information Systems in the Haworth College of Business. The major prepares students for careers in fields such as e-commerce, digital marketing, mobile marketing, social media, and web and mobile application development and services. Students will study digital technologies, web applications, Web design and digital marketing practices in order to solve contemporary business problems and meet challenges in the rapidly changing digital marketplace.

"The program was created in response to industry and student demand for an innovative business program that incorporates the business, marketing and application aspects of electronic commerce," says Dr. Mushtaq Luqmani, chair of the Department of Marketing. "Students who have exposure to both marketing and IT courses will have unique skills and a competitive advantage in the employment arena. The curriculum for the program was designed by Dr. Betty Parker, professor of marketing and Dr. Alan Rea, professor of business information systems, who are co-directors of the new program."

Students graduating from the program will be trained in a variety of IT courses including Web applications and architecture, Internet programming and electronic commerce development, in addition to some of the more traditional marketing, consumer behavior, advertising and international marketing courses.

Health informatics and information technology

Health informatics and information technology is an interdisciplinary program designed by faculty from WMU's Haworth College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services. The program is designed to prepare students to manage the acquisition, storage and retrieval of health care data. Health informatics majors will receive balanced education in health sciences, health care informatics, and information technology and management. Dr. Sharie Falan, assistant professor, Bronson School of Nursing, College of Health and Human Services and Dr. Bernard Han, professor of business information systems are co-directors of the new program.

"The major was developed to meet the rise in demand for health care information professionals from the health care and related industries," says Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the Haworth College of Business.

"According to the American Health Information Management Association, job openings for health informatics and information management majors have doubled over the past two years and remain on the rise," says Dr. Earlie Washington, dean, of the College of Health and Human Services.

Students admitted to the Haworth College of Business will have to take three elective courses from a specialty track, says Dr. Mike Tarn, chair, Department of Business Information Systems. Currently, two tracks--data analytics and health information networking--are offered by the Department of Business Information Systems, and the health care management track is offered by the Department of Management. Students admitted to College of Health and Human Services will complete elective courses in a health services track. The new program also offers a health informatics minor to all WMU undergraduates who have been admitted to any academic major.