New degrees and minor to be offered fall 2019


Clayton Keeling

Amaryllis Northstein studies in the lobby of Bruce and Gloria Ingram Hall, the new engineering building.

Chase Rogers

Texas State will be offering three new bachelor’s degrees, a new master’s degree and a new minor for the upcoming fall 2019 semester, expanding on an already extensive catalog. 

Among the new degrees is a bachelor’s in civil engineering with six sub-disciplines: a bachelors in health sciences, a bachelor’s in public health, a masters in public health education and promotion and a minor in African-American studies. The new offerings have been approved after years of development by their respective departments. 

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the regional bodies for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions, have given the green light for Texas State to offer a bachelors in civil engineering. It has taken two and a half years of planning and development and will make Texas State the 19th university in Texas to offer the degree.

According to a market analysis detailed in the university’s program proposal, there has been a predicted annual shortfall of roughly 650 civil engineers over several types of employment opportunities in Texas. This indicates a significant need for skilled graduates in this field that has been expressed by private and public sector employers.

John J. Schemmel, Bruce and Gloria Ingram Endowed Chair in Engineering, was part of the team that developed the program proposal. He characterized the need for civil engineers in Texas.

“There is no debate as to whether or not there is a need for more civil engineers in Texas,” Schemmel said. “We are projected to have 500 students in the fifth year of our program. If you consider doing an even distribution of these students, we’ll have 125 students graduating every year; even with our program, we will not fill that gap.”

Of the roughly 250 accredited civil engineering programs in the country, Texas State will uniquely be among the University of California Berkley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in focusing on technology-enhanced infrastructure. 

Schemmel described how this focus, with the concurrent teaching of the classical methods infused with the application of technology, will make Texas State civil engineering graduates more appealing to potential employers.

“We’re the only other university that offers a degree program where undergraduates are going to learn classic civil engineering with a focus on the application of technology to civil infrastructure,” Schemmel said. “We will be producing students who are going to be in very high demand when they start to graduate.”

Additionally, the bachelor’s in health science degree will be offered fall 2019. Classes will expose students to generalized sciences like nutrition, phycology, biology and chemistry with an additional business side of healthcare, financials, administration and promotion aspects of the field. 

According to the Census Bureau, the health services sector is expected to grow 20 percent over the next 10 years. This is a need Lawrence Fulton, program director for the bachelor of healthcare administration and B.S. in health sciences, sees as a symptom of the extended life expectancies of people in the U.S.

“It’s the graying of America,” Fulton said. “We have a lot of people who are getting old, and older people demand more healthcare services. Demand is currently outstripping supply.”

In addition to the comforting job market, Fulton further explained that the health science degree is one that is versatile and experiencing prosperity.

“We have had a lot of success already,” Fulton said. “We have enrolled quite a few people already who have recognized the value of a generalist degree.”

The establishment of the bachelors in public health and masters in public health educations are intended to capitalize on the hungry health service sector as well, with a focus on preparing students for work in the public health settings. 

The bachelors in public health is replacing the health and wellness promotion major currently offered, with a curriculum aligning with the Society for Public Health and Education for Public Health, both professional and accredited organizations.

Replacing the health education major, the masters in public health education and promotion serves to educate students to be effective in developing wellness programs for nonprofits, hospitals, government agencies and private businesses. 

The offering of an African-American studies minor by the sociology department has been in progress since the establishment of the Latinx studies minor. The implementation of this minor was in part due to the request of students and faculty. 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Gene Bourgeois explained the initial proposal of the minor by students and faculty that sparked the planning to offer the courses.

“The Latino studies minor, like the African American studies, had been discussed and thought about by students and faculty in the past,” Bourgeois said. “Student reactions have been very positive from prospective and current students.”

Najha Marshall, president of the Pan African Action Committee, believes the African American minor is a big win and a step in the right direction for the university and student body. 

“It feels great to have reached this goal,” Marshall said. “It was initiated by students and will be seen as a standing legacy for everyone that worked toward it.”

More information, including a proposed timeline, application form and list of courses for the African-American minor can be found online.

A complete list of the courses offered for fall 2019 can be found in Texas State’s fall 2019 catalog.

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