The University recently incorporated four new major areas of study to the academic curriculum: healthcare management, forensic biology, forensic investigation and data science. At the start of the 2019 academic school year, related academic departments have expanded to include the four new major programs, as well as three new minors: entrepreneurial leadership, sports management and healthcare management.
These new programs were made available effective Aug. 1 and are listed on the most current university course catalog.
These programs were established by their departments to meet the needs of a growing career field and to better prepare students to enter the modern job market, said Marie Leichliter-Krause, assistant provost for academic affairs and institutional effectiveness.
Each of the new majors added were in response to booming job fields with significant projected growth. Department faculty strategically select a course load to properly prepare students with the key skills necessary in that area of study.
“We want our students to walk into positions when they graduate and have all the skills for the jobs of the future,” Leichliter-Krause said. “We know that means having curricula that are cutting-edge.”
Departments interested in expanding their program to include a new major or minor must create a proposal outlining the need the curriculum will meet, key knowledge students will acquire from the program, as well as how the new major or minor may impact other programs offered at the university.
“They want to make sure this is a major that is going to work really well for everyone,” Leichliter-Krause said.
After the proposal for a new curriculum is deemed feasible, the proposal is then advanced to the curriculum committee and finally voted on by the board of trustees.
“The faculty are excellent at asking great questions,” Leichliter-Krause said. “It’s because they really want to be helpful and make sure all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”
One of the curriculums to pass this rigorous process was the newly established health management major and minor program, offered through the business department.
Exceptional growth in the field encouraged Gordon McClung, chairperson for the business administration department, to create the curriculum for the major.
“Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 20% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations,” he said. “Healthcare management provides an opportunity to pursue a healthcare career outside direct patient care.”
Health care requires employees who are skilled in human resources, office operations, accounting, finance, management, marketing and data analytics. The virtues of that field require many of the key principles of the mission of the university, says McClung.
“Health Care Management is a natural extension of our mission as a university, founded on faith and service,” he said. “The alumni of WU are predisposed to a life of service, and health care management provides an opportunity to pursue a career that draws on our alumni’s skill sets and affinity for service.”
Leichliter-Krause also strives to incorporate the University’s mission statement within new areas of study.
“We’re always very mission-centric, but of course we’re also trying to be very student-centered,” Leichliter-Krause said.
The university’s dedication to cutting-edge education is intended to put graduates 10 steps ahead of competing peers from other universities.
“We want to make sure that, as we’re projecting what is going to be most necessary in the coming future, we are offering those programs,” Leichliter-Krause said.
As the university studies job projections and creates curriculum to meet the ever-transforming needs of the future job market, faculty and staff stay focused on equipping current and future students with the skills needed in their intended career paths.
“That’s where a lot of these curricula decisions come into play,” Leichliter-Krause said. “Trying to make sure that we are truly preparing students, not just right now, but in the future as well.”