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FAMU to Offer New Degree Programs this Fall

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees has approved the addition of six new degree programs scheduled to launch this fall: the bachelor of science in physical education and teacher education; bachelor of science in health, leisure and fitness studies; bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies; and the bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in environmental studies.

“We are excited to offer these new degree programs, which will not only meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce, but are also designed to meet the State University System’s goals of increasing access to degrees and production of degrees,” said Interim Provost Rodner Wright.

Health, Leisure and Fitness Studies

The new health, leisure and fitness studies program, offered through the College of Education’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), provides professional courses leading to the new bachelor of science degree in health, physical education/fitness. The new degree will replace the current bachelor of science degree in physical education. Current students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physical education until 2016 and incoming students will receive the new degree. The health, leisure and fitness studies program will offer four degree concentration options, including aquatics management, dance studies, health promotion, and exercise science and coaching.

“The new degree program in health, leisure and fitness studies is distinctively designed to meet the needs of individuals with a variety of non-teaching career goals, and will provide a competitive and global edge in the workplace,” said Patricia Green-Powell, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Education.

HPER professors Barbara Thompson, Ph.D., Steve Chandler, Ph.D., and Brian Hickey, Ph.D. helped develop the new program. Currently six faculty members are credentialed and prepared to serve as inaugural instructors for the program. The students will have an internship prior to graduation and be well prepared to go on to graduate school, if they desire.

“The new bachelor’s degree, with its leisure studies courses, can lead them to the master’s degree in sports management,” said Chandler. “They could also conceivably do the master’s in business or public health. We see it as being extremely supportive of the masters programs that already exist on campus.”

Thompson said that one of the goals with the new program is to reclaim students who left because they could not meet progression requirements. She expects that approximately 15-20 students will re-enroll this fall.

“We’re calling some of those students and inviting them back. In fact, a lot of them are interested in coming back,” said Thompson. “We’re telling them, ‘if you want to come back, we’re going to work with you. We’re going to look at your transcript and everything you’ve had, and we’re going to try to get you in and out.’”

Interdisciplinary Studies

For those who can’t decide on just one major, the interdisciplinary studies bachelor’s degree programs within the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities may be a perfect fit. The program will benefit students who are seeking a broad educational focus that may not be obtained in a single discipline. The program of study is flexible and designed to enable to students to pursue a well-rounded education that best fits their educational goals.

Due to the nature of the major, students will work with an advisor and formulate a program of study for a unique, individualized degree plan. The student may draw upon the resources of the entire FAMU inventory of classes. Meeting with an academic advisor each term is required to ensure that they will progress through the degree program in a timely manner.

“The B.S./B.A. interdisciplinary studies degree program will provide undergraduate students an alternative education model to achieve their career goals and directly augment the efforts of various academic units to increase students’ access, retention and degree completion at the university,” said Merlin Langley, Ph.D., chair, interdisciplinary studies committee.

The interdisciplinary studies program will continue FAMU’s contribution to the local, state and national workforce by producing more individuals who have earned a baccalaureate degree necessary for entry into varied occupations, such as a historian, curator, educator, foreign ambassador, author, military officer or journalist.

Environmental Studies

The environmental studies bachelor’s degree programs, housed in the School of the Environment, is designed for those seeking careers in environmental policy and management. Having such a program at FAMU will have a significant impact on the number of diverse environmental analysts who will be able to serve the local community and state of Florida.

FAMU will join Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and Florida International University (FIU) as the only universities in the Florida State University System offering degrees in environmental studies. FGCU and FIU have only graduated six African-Americans since 2011 in the field. FAMU’s program will be one way of increasing the number of African-American graduates in this field, which is an area of employment that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow by 19 percent by 2020.

Dean of the School of the Environment, Victor Ibeanusi, Ph.D., said students with social sciences, humanities and STEM backgrounds will find the new degree in environmental studies very appealing because the new program will offer both B.S./B.A. degree tracks.

“The global environmental changes and impact of today demand that we train students that are prepared to assume leadership positions with a knowledge base for understanding the long-term restoration and sustainability of the environment,” said Ibeanusi. “The new degree in environmental studies will add to our existing environmental sciences program as we prepare students to better understand the environmental policies and management that are needed to provide solutions to these global changes.”

For more information regarding the physical education and teacher education and health, leisure and fitness studies programs, contact the College of Education at (850) 599-3482. For more information regarding the interdisciplinary studies program, contact the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at (850) 599-3430. For more information regarding the environmental studies program, contact the School of the Environment at (850) 599-3550.

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