Sam Houston State University received approval for a new college and a variety of new degree programs over the summer. The Texas State University System Board of Regents also approved the new plans for university academic expansion in May after classes disbursed for summer break.
However, all prospective additions to the university are subject to approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Of the requests approved by the Board of Regents, all but one have yet to be approved by both reigning entities.
According to the TSUS website, SHSU was approved to create a new College of Health Sciences. The Board also approved renaming the Department of Nursing to the School of Nursing and moving it into the new college along with the Department of Health and Kinesiology. The THECB approved the motion Aug. 15.
In May, SHSU President Dana Gibson explained to the Board of Regents why creating the new college would benefit the university and help the workforce during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in the years to come.
“One estimate indicates a need for 400,000 new health professional in Texas during this decade [due to Obamacare],” Gibson said.
Gibson also indicated that nearly 10 percent of the healthcare workforce in Texas is aging and will need to be replaced in the next decade, according to a Georgetown University study.
“SHSU currently offers only a small number of health sciences degree programs,” Gibson said. “Yet, there are currently 1,348 students actively enrolled in pre-nursing or other pre-professional programs, most of whom will be denied admission to the BS Nursing program or other programs due to limited capacity.”
TSUS documents on the SHSU website show that an extra annual cost of $125,000 will go towards administrative support staff for the new college.
Other requests approved by the Board of Regents include various name changes to degree programs, which include many Family and Consumer Sciences and Interdisciplinary Agriculture programs. These changes also include changing the program name of a Master’s of Arts in Counseling to Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and the Doctor of Education in Reading to Literacy.
New bachelor programs in the College of Science approved by the Board of Regents include Computer Science, Agriculture Communications, and Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology. These requests have been approved by the Board of Regents but are still up for final approval by THECB.