Rocky's ready for anything, including a new curriculum.

USFSM to introduce curriculum changes, new programs for fall

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: March 23, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (March 23, 2016) – USF Sarasota-Manatee is introducing curriculum changes and new academic programs for the fall semester in response to the community’s higher education needs and changing job market.

“These improvements help to position our campus to better fit the evolving needs of our growing student population,” said Dr. Terry A. Osborn, regional vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. “We are always examining new programs and modifications to existing programs to ensure that our students are getting the best education possible.”

Among the changes, the College of Business will debut a Risk Management/Insurance minor, a new Big Data for I.T. certificate and new concentrations in Big Data for I.T. in both the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and the Bachelor of Science in Applied Science degree programs.

“Big Data” refers to technologies that enable in-depth analytics of extremely large data sets. The Big Data program will prepare students to handle the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities of Big Data through storage, extraction, loading, analysis, distribution, sharing, visualization and reporting.

The Risk Management/Insurance minor will equip students to understand the principles of insurance, risk management and property and casualty insurance operations, among other facets of the insurance business.

“We have been trying to work closely with the local business community to identify areas where employers have ongoing needs and students who wish to remain in the Sarasota-Manatee area can find interesting career opportunities,” said Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business. “These new programs have already yielded internships and job opportunities satisfying both student and employer needs. We will be exploring other ways to partner with local firms and industries as we move the College of Business forward.”

Universities including USFSM periodically examine their degree programs and make adjustments accordingly. Along with the above-mentioned curriculum changes, additional changes are planned related to the College of Education, which this fall is to be renamed the School of Education and come under the new College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

That reconfiguration, announced last fall, is part of a broad effort by USFSM to respond to higher education needs locally and to adapt to the evolving job market. In addition to the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, a new College of Science & Mathematics will debut this coming fall as well.

Some of the curriculum changes affecting the School of Education include a new Education minor, a Teacher Preparation certificate and a new Masters of Arts degree in Teaching in Secondary English Education.

The Education minor applies to students seeking a bachelor’s degree in another discipline. Students completing the minor may use the coursework from this program to satisfy some of the Florida Department of Education requirements for teacher certification.

The Teacher Preparation certificate relates to students with bachelor’s degrees specifically seeking a teaching certificate.

Through this method of certification, teacher candidates learn to create safe and well-managed learning environments; how children and adolescents learn; how to assess learning; how to instruct in order to meet the needs of diverse learners, including those with disabilities; and how to implement research-based reading instruction and specific instructional strategies for English language learners.

The Masters of Arts in Teaching in Secondary English Education degree relates solely to education in grades 6 through 12. The program applies to students who already hold bachelor’s degrees in English or language arts and want to become middle or high school English or language arts teachers. The Florida Department of Education reports that English is the highest critical shortage area in public education.

Another curriculum change involves the bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD). For the first time, freshmen and transfer students will be able to pursue a CSD degree without already having obtained another degree beforehand. Previously, the CSD program only admitted students who already held bachelor’s degrees.

“There is a critical shortage of speech-language pathologists and audiologists,” said Dr. Susan Fulton, assistant professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders. “The expansion of our program will allow more students to prepare for a career in communication sciences and disorders. Since our program is fully online, we can help students from anywhere reach their goals to enter the field. In addition, online students have the flexibility to work on their studies anytime, anywhere.”

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