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November 7, 2005

Expanded offerings give students more choices

The fall semester brought the debut of several new academic programs to campus, including a doctorate in education leadership awarded with two other universities in Northern California. New degrees, majors and minors include a master’s degree in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, a master’s degree in business administration for executives, a history minor in Middle East and Islamic Studies and a criminal justice minor in forensics investigations. And a minor in Chicano Latino Studies got its start during the spring semester.

The University this fall started its new doctoral program in educational leadership with Sonoma State University and UC Davis. The program, geared toward working professionals, leads to a Doctor of Education, or Ed.D, degree awarded jointly by the CSU and UC systems. The program is designed to help meet the need for leadership in California’s public schools and community colleges, said Rosemary Papa, who is coordinating the new program. “There is and will continue to be a great need for strong leadership for our schools,” she said.

Twenty-two students, all working professionals, are enrolled in classes this semester. The program’s curriculum focuses on developing strategic leadership skills, bridging public policy and practice, building community in an increasingly diverse society and using data for more effective decision-making. Students will be able to earn their doctoral degrees within three years.

The Chemistry Department this semester offers a new master’s degree in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry. Linda Roberts, associate professor of chemistry who helped create the degree’s curriculum, said the new degree was established as a result of several factors.

“We have had a lot of students in biochemistry who wanted to continue their studies at the graduate level,” said Roberts, adding that the department in recent years has added new faculty with backgrounds in biochemistry. “With the biotech industry growing in the Sacramento-Vacaville area, there is a demand for graduates with advanced degrees in biochemistry.”

The College of Business Administration this fall kicked off its new Master’s of Business Administration for Executives (EMBA) degree program. Thirty-five working professionals are currently taking classes on Friday evenings and during the day on Saturdays, and will complete the degree program in 15 months, said Chiang Wang, professor of operations and strategic management and coordinator of the EMBA program. Next semester the College of Business Administration will start a second EMBA class at Intel in Folsom.

Student interest served as a spark for creating the new minor in history in Middle East and Islamic Studies. “In a sense, Sept. 11 may have been behind the initiative for proposing the minor, but I think it grew naturally out of the increased interest among students on campus,” said Afshin Marashi, assistant professor of history who coordinates the program with Erin Stiles, assistant professor of humanities and religious studies.

The minor will help students learn about the history, politics, culture and religion of the Middle East and the Islamic world. Classes in the minor come from across the curriculum, ranging from government and sociology to women’s studies and foreign languages, and cover topics such as Islamic civilization, Middle Eastern societies and culture, and women in the Middle East.

Criminal justice offers a new minor this fall in forensics investigations that is open only to declared biology and chemistry majors. The minor allows the science students to gain an understanding of the criminal justice system if they are contemplating careers in the field. The classes cover topics such as general investigation techniques, physical evidence and the court system.

“We established the minor because we had students in these majors who were already interested in forensics who were taking the minor in criminal justice,” said William Vizzard, chair of criminal justice. “We wanted to better fit their needs.”

And last spring saw the start of a new minor in Chicano Latino Studies which focuses on the experiences of Chicanos and Latinos not only in the United States but also in Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and countries in Central and South America. The minor is designed to help students who are majoring in fields such as government, education or social work understand the diversity of today's Hispanic American community.

Sam Rios, interim director of the Chicano Studies program, said that the growth of the Hispanic American population in the Sacramento area signaled a strong need for the University to provide a program for students to learn more about the varied cultures of the Hispanic American community. "Our students will be taking jobs in human services fields, for example, that demand that they understand the diverse Hispanic American community. It is a community made up of Spanish-speaking people coming from different cultural backgrounds and who have different orientations, said Rios, who credited David J. Leon, director of the Chicano Studies program who is on sabbatical, for creating the program and developing courses specifically for the minor.

— Ted DeAdwyler


 

 

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