Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


New president takes helm of IHL Board of Trustees

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • IHL Board approves creation of two new centers and seven new degree paths at state institutions.

A new president took over at the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning at the conclusion of last week’s meeting. The Board also approved requests from several institutions to create new centers and career paths.

New board president

At the conclusion of Thursday’s IHL meeting, Dr. Alfred McNair handed the gavel to incoming president Bruce Martin. McNair’s term on the Board will end on May 7th.

“It has been an honor to serve in this role for the past year, and I am proud of the good work done by this Board in service of Mississippi’s public universities,” McNair said in a statement. “From the strength of our bond rating to the increase in degrees awarded to our students, I believe our university system is poised for ongoing success for years to come.”

Like McNair, Martin is an appointee of former Governor Phil Bryant. Martin’s term on the IHL Board will expire in May 2027. Presidents on the Board serve in that role for one year. 

“I am excited about the work that lies ahead and confident we will continue to build on the strong foundation that is in place,” Martin said in a statement. 

Also at the meeting, Dr. Casey Prestwood, Associate Commissioner for Academic Student Affairs, presented proposed new centers and degree paths to the IHL Board.

New institutes and centers

Mississippi State University submitted a request to create the Data Science Academic Institute, while the University of Mississippi sought the creation of the Nano-Bio Interactions Center, Prestwood outlined. 

The Data Science Academic Institute at MSU will promote the application of data sciences across every discipline and research initiatives offered by the university. The institute will be designed to address the growing demand for data science professionals and provide a boost to the school’s reputation in the realm of artificial intelligence data science. The new institute is anticipated to draw in more students from across the globe.

The creation of a Nano-Bio Interactions Center at the University of Mississippi is touted to transform the bio-medical landscape in Mississippi through research and industrial partnerships, resulting in access to larger federal grants. 

The IHL Board approved the creation of both centers.

New degrees programs

Seven new degree programs were also approved by the IHL Board, including one at Alcorn State University, two at the University of Mississippi, and four at Mississippi State University. 

Alcorn State University’s new program will be the STEM Master of Business Administration. Housed under the School of Business, the 30-hour program will help business leaders utilize analytical thinking and form expertise in the technological realm. By helping the students think like an entrepreneur, the program will help drive innovation. It will focus on AI for business, healthcare systems management, data analytics, and accounting.

“Graduates will be prepared to excel in STEM focused professions in fields like technology, health care, advanced manufacturing and consulting,” Prestwood described.

Careers applicable to this degree include project management consultants, data science and analytics managers, and IT project managers with pay ranges between $80,000 to $150,000.

Mississippi State’s four new degree paths will be the Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity, Master of Applied Data Science, Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Level Alternative Route, and the Master of Science in Engineering. 

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity degree will require 120 hours to complete. Prestwood said the course is important because employers in the field are increasingly seeking applicants with more advanced degrees.

“A 2019 study from Burning Glass Technologies found that 88 percent of cybersecurity job postings specifically request a bachelors degree or higher,” Prestwood elaborated. 

More than 55,000 jobs in the field were expected to open from 2021 to 2031 and they currently have a median salary of $102,600 with an 0.8 percent unemployment rate.

In the Master of Applied Data Science degree path, students will be required to complete 30 hours while they learn the principals and basics of data science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected demand for data science professionals will create 11.5 million new jobs in two years, Prestwood told the Board. Research conducted by LinkedIn states that the jobs pay between $78,000 to $150,000.

MSU’s proposed Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Level Alternative Route focuses on teachers in K-6 classrooms who need an alternate path to earn their masters. Prestwood said within the next decade the teacher shortage may reach 300,000 nationwide.  

“The critical shortage in Mississippi exacerbates this demand,” Prestwood stated.

Starting salary for teachers is $43,000, but local districts can also provide a supplement.

The Master of Science in Engineering degree at MSU will provide a 30 to 33 hour program for those who currently hold an undergraduate engineering degree. It will allow students to create their own concentration areas for the degree path.

“This program will provide students with flexibility in tailoring programs of study to support their career development and aspiration goals,” Prestwood said. “The need for this degree was realized after discussing with the graduate coordinators in the proposed concentration areas and areas where Mississippi State could fill gaps in degree offerings.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average pay is $111,000.

The University of Mississippi’s new Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Psychology degrees will both be 120 hour programs that will be a more technical and quantitative path than the Bachelor of Arts degrees in their respective paths.

The next meeting of the IHL Board will be May 16th.

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

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles