Gaertner, administrators unveil plans for degrees in engineering, nursing

Plans for two new bachelor’s degrees are underway for Sam Houston State, though no formal designs have been made and the Board of Regents has not yet approved the idea.

If the proper approvals are met, Sam Houston will offer a Bachelor’s in Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Nursing starting in the Fall of 2010. The new programs will be housed in the two new buildings included in JJR’s updated Master Plan, to be presented to the Board of Regents this month.

“I think the thing we really need to emphasize is this is very early,” President James F. Gaertner said. “We don’t have the Board of Regents approval.”

Currently, options are available to get similar degrees through class work in both Sam Houston and another accredited universities offering degrees in engineering or nursing.

Although students can work toward one of the degrees at SHSU, they cannot receive a four-year degree in either engineering or nursing as of now.

The engineering program offered will not be specific, for example civil or chemical, but rather a generalist degree.

“What we’re contemplating is an engineering program that would be what’s called integrated engineering. Many of the universities in Canada have this kind of program – it’s more of a generalist engineering,” Gaertner said.

The premise of a generalist degree is to gain the background needed to understand the field, then learn specific areas while on the job or through advanced degrees. Of the generalist rather than specialized degree, Gaertner said that they believe that there is a large market for the degree in the Houston area.

Pre-engineering is already an option, combining a two-year degree in chemistry or physics as well as an engineering field degree completed elsewhere. The program incorporates both work through Sam Houston as well as another university already offering full engineering degrees.

The other degree to be offered is the Bachelor’s in Nursing, which will combine nursing and the Allied Health professions. There are also plans to try to work with Huntsville Memorial Hospital as a practical part of the nursing education.

Currently, options are available for medical-related certifications through the Continuing Education program.

Pre-medical tracks on campus are geared toward a B.A. or B.S. before applying for medical school. The existing pre-nursing program offers a broad academic curriculum formulated according to a particular student’s later degree requirements before transferring to a nursing school. Students can then pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an Associate Degree in Nursing.

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