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Schools adding degrees, courses in disciplines coveted by business

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New Jersey colleges are creating new degrees in response to emerging needs of businesses, especially in technology fields.

Among them: Rutgers University–Camden is starting a certification program in Spanish for health professions this fall through the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden and Rutgers-Camden College of Arts and Sciences. The 15-credit program — to be offered on campus and online — is being launched with the support of a U.S. Department of Education grant.

Rutgers–Camden is “expanding its learning-abroad options in Spanish-speaking countries and enrollment in Spanish for health care professionals courses through cross-disciplinary partnerships on campus and at local community colleges,” said Mike Sepanic, associate chancellor for external relations.

Rutgers University School of Business-Camden is revamping curricula for undergraduate majors and MBA concentrations to emphasize career-oriented tracks. And Rutgers-New Brunswick plans to launch a master’s in fine arts-design in fall 2019.

Over at Montclair State University, a recently relaunched Continuing Professional Education Unit addresses “a tremendous need in our community for educational offerings that serve to fulfill lifelong learning,” said Peter McAliney, executive director of continuing and professional education. The school will offer three certificates around blockchain technology starting next month.

Montclair State is also offering an online, noncredit certificate in analytic linguistics for those involved in working with law enforcement agencies and electronic surveillance. And the school opened its nursing school a year and a half ago.

Ramapo College has begun offering a Master of Science in accounting in response to the “demand for professionally prepared accountants,” said Ed Petkus, dean of the Anisfield School of Business.

“There are two things that we have responded to in the marketplace across all our programs — data analytics and Excel expertise spreadsheets,” Petkus said. “We have a business advisory board. We are going to put in a minor and master’s for data analytics within one year to two years.”

Rowan University has received approval to start a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology in partnership with Rowan College of Burlington County, likely in fall 2019.

“We want programs in civic engineering and electrical engineering to provide a skilled workforce and meet industry needs,” said Anthony Lowman, dean of the College of Engineering. “We have an active industrial advisory board. Our accrediting body requires us to review our curriculum. We realize that higher education is changing. People do not want to pay a lot of money if they are not going to be prepared for the workforce.”

New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Martin Tuchman School of Management plans to introduce an undergraduate degree in business data science starting in fall 2019.

NJIT also entered into a partnership with IBM last fall to bring skills academy materials into the classrooms. It revolves around IBM Watson and helps to identify career tracks for predictive analytics, business process analysis and business intelligence.

Professor Manfred Minimair, Seton Hall University.
Professor Manfred Minimair, Seton Hall University.
"Data analysis has been running for a few years and it is popular with our students. They recognize the demand in industry.”

Professor Manfred Minimair, Seton Hall University

“We are going to hold two more workshops this summer,” said Reggie Caudill, dean of the Tuchman School. “We invite our alumni back on campus to see the value in cooperation with county colleges. This is an IBM-NJIT consortium.”

Gale Spok, NJIT associate vice president for continuing and distance education, said the school this fall will launch WozU, a tech-education platform launched by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak that focuses on both students and companies.

WozU is open to anyone who needs upskilling,” Spok said. “It is online with 24/7 online instructors. It is project-based and is agnostic to a company platform. It is longer than a typical master’s program. It can be done in 12 weeks to 33 weeks.”

Lori Nanton of the Tuchman School said NJIT is offering workshops on predictive analytics as part of its data science offering.

“We hope to provide these workshops to our alumni, professionals and students,” Nanton said. “Business analytics is everywhere. We hope to give our students a leg up in job hunting. We will bring IBM’s business partners to campus and give our students a chance for internships.”

NJIT is also starting a Master of Science degree program in pharmaceutical chemistry, said Kevin Belfield, dean of the NJIT College of Science and Liberal Arts and professor in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science.

The degree is certified by the National Professional Science Master’s Association, and the long-term plan is to roll it out as a standalone degree program. Each program will welcome its first cohort of students this fall.

“Both programs were developed in response to unmet market demand with direct input from professionals in the field,” Belfield said. “The forensic science program is the first of its kind in New Jersey, so students who want to major in this field will finally have an in-state option. Until now students from New Jersey wishing to major in forensic science had no choice but to go out of state.”

The biotechnology program grew out of the local pharmaceutical industry’s need to grow, educate and train a workforce skilled in the fast-emerging field of biopharmaceuticals and biotechnology, he added.

Paul Easterling, Stevens Institute of Technology’s assistant provost for graduate studies, said Stevens will begin offering a master’s program in artificial intelligence, and master’s degrees in computational chemistry and construction engineering management.

“We are working on new programs to be launched within six months in quantum computing and blockchain, which fits with computer science and finance,” Easterling said. “The majority of these programs are available online. We know people want a technical education without having to drive to Hoboken. We are doing it on a convenience factor.” 

“We have been working on these in the last nine months to one year,” he continued. “There is research happening on campus. We look at the latest research. We are focusing on the niche areas in the highest demand.”

Stevens will start a Ph.D. in data science in the fall between the schools of business and sciences.

Saint Peter’s University is starting a Master of Science program in data science with a concentration in data analytics this fall, KPMG Dean of the School of Business Mary Kate Naatus said.

The university is currently offering a six-credit summer course in blockchain technology. It involves face-to-face interaction and videoconferences with industry experts. 

“Blockchain technology is revolutionizing many industries,” Naatus said. “Computer scientists like it because it prevents fraud. People in all kinds of businesses are interested in it.”

“ … I appreciate that we have technology-based cutting edge programs as part of the school of business,” she added. “My vision is to expose students to disruptive technologies for business students regardless of major.”

Also on tap at Saint Peter’s is an undergraduate minor in business analytics.

At Seton Hall University, Professor Manfred Minimair has developed a data visualization and analysis certificate program and created a cybersecurity undergraduate certificate.

“Data analysis has been running for a few years and it is popular with our students,” Minimair said. “They recognize the demand in industry. That is why we are offering it as a certificate.”

“Cybersecurity certificate students take it in addition to their majors,” he continued. “There are more jobs emerging where the employees need to know about a variety of issues.

“We experience more interest in students taking these courses, which parallels demand in the job market,” he said. “There is growth projected. It is quite obvious this is needed. We are having great success.”

Seton Hall is also starting a cybersecurity boot camp.

“This is a requirement for the cybersecurity certificate program,” Minimair said. “It will be taught by a training company. It is industry-specific. It is very good to have on the resume.”

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David Hutter

David Hutter


David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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