Sam Houston State University continues to grow in many different shapes and forms. Visually, many people see the growth of new buildings and the student body. A major part of this growth, however, consists of several new degree plans and changes to the curriculum at SHSU.
Three new degree plans have been added to SHSU’s curriculum: Bachelor of Arts in French, a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Media Production and a Master of Science in Nursing.
The new Bachelors of Arts in French program was brought about after much research into current job trends and postings online through job search sites.
“Knowing French gives students an advantage in the global marketplace,” French professor Siham Bouamer said. “It opens up employment opportunities in all French-speaking parts of the world. This includes Belgium, Canada, Caribbean, France, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Switzerland.”
According to Bouamer, the Master of French will be just as beneficial to alumni looking for careers in Texas, as well as other parts of the world.
“The French degree will be beneficial to students who want to stay in Texas,” Bouamer said. “The French program is often contacted by Houston-based airlines to recruit French-speaking individuals for full-time employment. Québec Government Trade office (newly established in Houston) is now seeking numerous French-speaking partners in Texas and surrounding states in high-tech sectors such as aerospace, bio-medical, digital media, clean-tech and agro-food. U.S. Border Patrol Services, as well as, Doctors without Borders regularly recruit French-speaking employees.”
There is a nationwide teacher shortage in foreign languages. Houston ISD recently announced implementation of dual-immersion programs, in which students will be taught in both English and French in classrooms. These programs will lead to a rise of employment for bilingual teachers in the years to come.
The new French program will include study abroad programs in Quebec, which will include a five-week long trip focused on French immersion. With the addition of this new program there has been a request to add five additional classes to help support the new degree, as well. Students may be able to register for these courses as early as Fall 2018.
The new Master of Fine Arts in Digital Media Production degree was proposed in response to market needs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, staffing at digital media companies has increased 32 percent since June 2009, and is expected to grow another six percent from 2014 to 2024—including a seven percent growth expected in broadcast and sound engineering technicians, and 11 percent growth in digital film and video editors; these statistics were used in proposing the new degree plan.
“I think this will be a challenging program,” Mass Communication department graduate coordinator Robin Johnson said. “Any advanced degree should provide significant challenges and effort so that graduates will stand out among their peers and in the job market. We want our graduates to be able to make an impression, so future students are inspired to come here and that employers know that SHSU’s graduates have the skills and work ethic to succeed.”
Even with the proposal for this new degree being approved by the Texas State University System, there will still be some work done before students are able to sign up. According to Johnson, the degree will likely be available for registration in Fall 2019. Dr. Kiwon Seo will soon be the graduate program coordinator after Professor Johnson leaves to be the Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Media at the University of Idaho.
The Master of Fine Arts in Digital Media Production degree plan will focus largely on the future of media and preparing students for operations, such as app development, streaming and obtaining advanced skills in media production. According to Johnson, the degree is not geared specifically towards getting students jobs more quickly, but emphasizes the quality of jobs that can be obtained with the Master of Fine Arts degree. This degree plan will be adding eight new classes to help support the program, including Web and Mobile Development, Sound Design and Editing and Motion Graphics and Effects.
Another new degree is a Master of Science in Nursing, which has a concentration in providing advanced medical and nursing care to individuals, families, groups and communities, according to the board of regent’s proposal. This degree plan will be adding 11 classes to help support the new degree. A few of these classes include, Role Transition and Theory, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics and Clinical Research and EBP.
This degree plan is geared largely toward students who want to work with in the local community. According to the proposal for this degree, the student demand for nurse practitioners in Huntsville, and surroundings areas, is unique because of potential job opportunities in the Huntsville units of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The proposal states that the largest demand for Nurse Practitioners will come from the burgeoning medical center in The Woodlands, Montgomery County and surroundings areas, such as Conroe Regional Medical Center. Currently there are six major hospitals in The Woodlands area, along with specialty facilities like Nexus Specialty Hospital.
“I believe it’s a strong degree plan because it is a fast-growing industry, especially in Family Practice,” senior Nursing major Kelli Joiner said.
Joiner is currently pursuing her second degree at SHSU after receiving her first degree in Public Health.
“It is a nice pioneer master’s program for SHSU,” Joiner said. “It gives their nursing school a competitive edge amongst the many nursing schools in Texas. For being one of the first MSN programs at SHSU it is a great concentration because of the rapidly growing need for this. Also, it is something to look forward to as a current nursing student. After gaining the year experience required to apply for a typical MSN program, it is nice to come back and pursue a graduate degree with some of the professors who helped you through one of the hardest degree plan.”
SHSU will be implementing a total of 95 additional classes in the coming semesters and taking away 17 in efforts to better streamline students’ education. Some of these changes will also be adding new courses to distance learning programs offered at SHSU. Many of the changes are additions or subtractions of existing degree plans with small changes in a few. Some of the changes include the course numbers, renaming of classes, deletion of classes and replacing some with new updated curriculum.