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IHL hears requests for new baccalaureate programs at Mississippi State

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.


Degree paths for public management, business office technology, and more up for consideration by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

This week, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s Board of Trustees heard a request from Mississippi State University to add two new degree paths – a Bachelor of Applied Science in business office technology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in public management. 

While there are other programs that offer similar paths at Mississippi’s public universities, none are exactly the same, said Dr. Casey Prestwood, Associate Commissioner for Academic Student Affairs. She presented the request to the IHL Board on Wednesday.

Prestwood said employment percentages in the area of office administrators is expected to increase 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, while retail sales manager positions are expected to increase by 5 percent in that same time frame. 

The average salary reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for a person with a Bachelor of Applied Science in public management is more than $60,000. She said the need for public management professionals, such as city managers, is expected to grow by 4 percent in this state in that ten-year time frame. 

For the Board’s comparison, Prestwood gave examples of current programs offered in state along with their graduation rates. 

Alcorn currently offers a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science with concentrations in medical radiologic science and technology with specialty areas in computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and mammography, along with a technology management degree. Over the past five years, 473 students have enrolled in those courses at Alcorn, of which 130 earned their degrees. 

Delta State offers a Bachelor of Applied Science that has concentrations on business management, marketing management and human resources, along with a hospitality services management course. The college also has a computer information systems course with focuses on programming, cybersecurity and networking. A Bachelor of Applied Science is also offered in the realm of geospatial analysis and aviation management. In those areas of study at Delta State, 243 students enrolled and 42 graduated over the last five years. 

Mississippi State University offers a Bachelor of Applied Science with focuses on advanced manufacturing, technology, cybersecurity and public management. Within the various course frameworks over the last five years, 230 of the 692 enrolled students graduated. 

Mississippi University for Women offers Bachelor of Applied Science courses, such as human resources, legal administration, marketing, nonprofit management and sports management to name a few. Of the 450 students enrolled in those various paths, 234 graduated over the past five years. 

At the University of Southern Mississippi, Bachelor of Applied Science degree paths include emphasis on the practical application of business management and the examination of theories of human resource and development. There is also a focus on innovations in technology that have been instrumental in the success of public and private industries. That coursework has drawn in 329 students, of which 160 earned their degree over the past five years. 

Mississippi State is also requesting to add the Athlete Engineering Institute to be housed under the Vice President of Research and Economic Development.

“The Athlete Engineering Institute will be the first institute in the nation focused on blending human factors, human performance, wearable technology creation and validation, sports and data science and entrepreneurship for the four athlete personas; sports, industrial, tactical and at-risk,” Prestwood said. 

In the last six years. Mississippi State’s athlete engineering program quickly increased its reputation as a leader in the realms of human performance science, engineering and technology, she said. It began simply as a program with a lab, but today touts a university-wide institute that supports branding as well as the university’s commitment to current sponsors and potential contributors.

In addition to Mississippi State’s requests, the University of Mississippi is requesting a new degree as well – Master of Science in criminal justice under the school of applied sciences.

Prestwood said the university’s current program of this sort is housed under the School of Applied Sciences as criminal justice policy and practice emphasis in the Master of Criminal Justice degree program. Ole Miss is requesting to move the program into a stand-alone degree path so the school can provide a curriculum that is more scientific and research oriented. 

The program is expected to prepare students in that coursework for careers as policymakers, data analysts or criminal justice researchers, and can also prepare students for the pursuit of a doctoral degree, if they so choose. 

The University of Mississippi also submitted a request to add the Department of Public Health, which will become part of the School of Applied Science if approved. Prestwood said the university’s public health degree programs are housed in the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management. The specific focus on public health is why the university is seeking a separate department. Accreditation will be sought in alignment with public health offerings at other public universities. 

A decision on these requests was not made during Wednesday’s meeting. 

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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