College ponders new programs

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College ponders new programs

Dan Regan

Dan Regan

Max Van Wie

Dan Regan

Max Van Wie

Max Van Wie

Dan Regan

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Reflecting changes within disciplines and input from the admissions department, Johnson State College will launch a number of new programs, some as early as next fall, according to Dean of Academic Affairs Dan Regan.

“Colleges go through various academic cycles,” said Regan. “Our focus in the past has been on growing, strengthening, and maintaining existing programs, and now without losing sight of that focus we also want to try to develop some new programs.”

One such initiative will appear in the business and economics department in the form of an accounting certificate. This certificate will allow holders to sit for the Vermont Certified Public Accountant exam so they may become a licensed CPA without holding a master’s in accounting. This is all possible thanks to a new set of Vermont requirements.

“Starting in fall of 2014, anyone that would like to be a CPA in Vermont will need 150 college credit hours. Out of those 150, a minimum of 40 credits will need to be in accounting related classes,” said Associate Professor of Business and Economics Henrique Cezar.

Those who have a bacehlor’s will already have 120 credits, and this certificate can be used to complement those additional 30 credits. JSC is the only institution in Vermont that will offer such a certificate, according to Cezar. The only other colleges that have programs allowing a student to sit at the CPA exam are Castleton State College and the University of Vermont, both of which offer an master’s program in accounting.

The business department is also working on a sports management and administration concentration, a program of study that the admissions department has been interested in creating. This program is in the information gathering stage. Coordinator of Student-Athlete Development Kristin Cannon and Director of Athletics and Recreation Jamey Ventura have been reaching out to schools that offer such a program. The current plan is to overlap new courses with ones already present and are appropriate for this concentration.

“It will help our coaches in recruitment of student athletes, but the sports industry is huge,” said Ventura. “Even if you’re not a student athlete, I think there will be a lot of students who will be interested.”

The Environmental and Health Sciences Department has three new programs that are in the works or being discussed.

The first is a health and sports psychology track, which will merge faculty and students across lines from the health sciences and psychology departments. This program is awaiting approval by the faculty and the administration.

The second is a pre-physical therapy track, which is designed to prepare students for graduate school in any of three areas: physical therapy, physician’s assistant, and chiropractic studies. This new track will give students prerequisite courses and experiences within these fields.

The third is a program in nutrition, which at this point is highly exploratory. No actual program has been designed or implemented, and no real steps have been taken towards it.

“We have preliminarily thought about looking at the feasibility of a nutrition program in the sciences,” said Associate Professor of Environmental and Health Sciences Hans Haverkamp. “In order for that to ever be considered a possibility we would need at least one new faculty member and half a dozen new courses.”

Another new program is an extension of Johnson’s wellness and alternative medicine programs. A plan is in the works to set WAM up as an external degree program. The people who advise JSC’s academic programs have heard a lot of interest in the community about WAM, which is exclusively offered on campus.

“There is every reason to think that that interest exists as well around the state and at the various sites that the EDP program serves. It seems to be a natural step in terms of program expansion and development,” said Regan.

WAM is not the only program being considered for expansion to the EDP.

“An MA in communications would be of great benefit to people in a variety of fields,” said Regan. “Our EDP program, which has been around for over 30 years, has only offered undergraduate courses. This would be a new venture for the EDP program.”

The first small step toward a full-blown master’s in communications will be a course entitled “Crisis Communications” and will be offered online as part of the EDP program. Further developments will occur depending on student interest.

A new course offered this fall will test student interest in computer science, a new venture for the college.

“Right now we have essentially no computer science programs at all; not even a class for programming,” said Assistant Professor in Mathematics Greg Petrics. “We would need quite a bit of expansion before we could provide a computer science program, whether it is a major or a minor.”

This course will serve as an introduction to computer programming. It is offered by the business department, but will be taught by Petrics. It will give a little background in computer programing, and no previous experience is required to enroll. Whether or not more programs of this sort will be implemented depends on student interest.

“If students sign up for this course and we are full, that’s the best way for students to vote to show that they are interested in these sorts of things,” said Petrics.

Another new program is also at an early exploration stage. Art and Music therapy would combine the college’s strengths in the performing arts and psychology to create a new set of courses. What steps will be needed to make this program a reality has yet to be determined.

“These are very much growing fields, but we have to figure out what makes sense for a small college like Johnson State,” said Regan. “It’s complicated because true music theory has a very complex licensure program, for which undergraduate students, I’m afraid, would be here until the end of time.”

The Fine and Performing Arts Department is thinking about putting an emphasis on this type of program within one of their existing concentrations, entitled Creative Pathways. A mixture of music and psychology would prepare students for graduate schools in this field.

Also under consideration is a new program called criminal justice or justice studies.

“We hear from admissions often about students who are interested in criminal justice programs,” said Regan. “There are already a number of programs and courses that would fit within such a program.”

Besides the current classes on subjects such as justice and injustice, equality and inequality, and race and gender, several new classes would need to be created. This includes a criminology course, which would require a new faculty member within that specialization. To that end, one of the eight advertised faculty positions for the college includes a visiting position in the anthropology and sociology department for someone with a specialization in criminal justice.