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Mary’s Responds to Students Needs with New Degrees and Revised Core Curriculum
Date: 2010-08-18 Author: Lucha Ramey
When the fall semester starts at St. Mary’s University on August 24, students will experience a revised liberal arts core curriculum and have new degree choices. By offering new career paths and strengthening an already academically strong core, St. Mary’s is responding to today’s students and society’s needs. The new St. Mary’s Core also more efficiently accommodates students’ degree plans, helping them graduate in four years, saving them money and allowing them to join the work force much sooner. The new Core changes were initiated by St. Mary’s President Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., developed by faculty and deans and then approved last spring by the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees. The incoming freshman class of 2010 will be the first to begin course requirements of the newly established St. Mary’s Core, complemented by a School Specific Core. The revised Core is innovative because while all undergraduate students will take traditional liberal arts courses such as fine arts, foreign language, writing, speech, philosophy/ethics and literature, the School Specific Core recognizes the three undergraduate schools (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Science, Engineering and Technology, and the Bill Greehey School of Business) have different emphases. Therefore, School Specific Core courses will support the students’ major. To continue to graduate critical thinkers who are agents of positive change in society and to advance St. Mary’s tradition of service, students will also take courses in civic engagement, social action and theology throughout their undergraduate years. A capstone seminar is required during the senior year and students will keep a Core Portfolio to help them relate back to their previous courses. In support of St. Mary’s well-known mission of community service, students will be encouraged to complete 30 hours of service; those who do will receive special recognition at graduation. Already more than 70 percent of St. Mary’s students participate in community service projects in San Antonio and worldwide. In 2008, students were engaged in more than 144,000 community service hours. Accordingly, St. Mary’s has been named to the President of the United States’ Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year since the inception of this recognition in 2006. Also in response to today’s changing professional job market, students have three new degrees and a new degree track to choose from this fall: a new management major, an online master’s degree in software engineering, a new pre-med concentration under the engineering science major, and a bachelor’s degree in art education with teacher certification. The new management major offered in the Bill Greehey School of Business will replace the previous human resources and general business majors. Course studies will include everything from advanced statistics, to negotiation and conflict resolution, to global operations management. Again unique to a St. Mary’s education is an emphasis on ethics. Business students take corporate social responsibility courses as part of their education. An experiential learning component will be implemented in the fall 2011. In response to the need for more convenient, but still academically strong graduate programs for professionals, the School for Science, Engineering and Technology is introducing an industry-responsive, online master’s degree in software engineering. Also new in fall 2010, SET will offer a pre-med concentration within the engineering science degree program for students who want to pursue careers in traditional medicine and/or in biomedical engineering. St. Mary’s will become the only university in San Antonio to offer a bachelor’s degree in art education with
teacher certification (early childhood – grade 12) through the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. While students at other institutions have to plan for an extra year to complete teacher education courses or seek alternative certification, the St. Mary’s program is designed for students pursuing visual arts and who also want to become teachers. These are just the latest additions to the new degrees St. Mary’s now offers. In the fall of 2009, a new Bachelor of Science degree in forensic science with a Biology or chemistry option, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Forensic Science with a Criminology option were offered. A minor in Environmental Science was offered in the spring 2010 semester, and a major is currently under development. As a Catholic Marianist University, St. Mary’s fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University is ranked seventh in the West Region for quality and value in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category of the U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” and the Bill Greehey School of Business is ranked in the top 10 nationally for “Greatest Opportunity for Women” by the Princeton Review.