One of the common questions from today’s prospective students (and their parents) is: Am I going to get a job after I graduate?At Saint Rose, there’s a new wave of programs that answer this question while meeting the demands of a changing workforce.
According to the Hanover Research 2017 Industry Trend report, a top research firm in education, colleges nationwide are expanding their programs to meet student and industry demand. And, one in five colleges are exploring new delivery models, such as online learning and blended options. Saint Rose is keeping up with the trends, tapping into high-growth programs and flexible models to stand out in a competitive landscape.
Since April 2017, the College has added more than a dozen programs. Saint Rose has expanded its technology programs, introduced a new online graduate degree model, launched the first sales program in New York State, created a flexible graduate program in social work, and further diversified programs in the School of Arts and Humanities.
And, the college is just getting started.
“Innovation is happening everywhere on campus, and I am proud of how well Saint Rose is meeting the needs of incoming students with in-demand programs that prepare them for the work world of today,” said President Carolyn J Stefanco “Meanwhile, we are considering how students want learn and the responsibilities they hold outside of the classroom that can sometimes keep them from pursuing higher education. This has led to new delivery models, such as technology graduate courses that allow most of the work to be completed online with a visit to campus every couple of months for that facetime with professors. It combines the personal attention that students who choose Saint Rose desire with the convenience of online learning.”
Ian MacDonald, dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences, helped develop the College’s cybersecurity program, which launched in Fall 2018, after realizing there was a skills gap between graduating students and industry demands.
MacDonald said that most other cybersecurity programs focus on technology, which is important, but Saint Rose’s new program provides an interdisciplinary approach, featuring courses in psychology, criminal justice, and business.
“Cybersecurity isn’t just simply a technology problem – it is a people problem,” he said. “For example, psychology is important in understanding the mindset of a potential malicious insider of a company …”
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education forecasted that the number of unfilled jobs in cybersecurity worldwide will grow to approximately 3.5 million by 2021.
Cybersecurity isn’t the only program fulfilling a growing need. Saint Rose now offers hybrid graduate programs in computer science and information technology that attract students nationwide. The hybrid model combines online learning with an in-classroom component, allowing students who have time constraints to earn their masters and move up in their careers.
“The technology sector is booming. Our students graduate with many of the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities, so they are highly marketable,” he said. “Our students find jobs. We have employment rates that near 100 percent.”
Another industry with a notable skills gap? Sales. John Dion, assistant professor of marketing, said organizations are missing highly-skilled and knowledgeable salespeople, and he thinks Saint Rose is equipped to tackle the challenge. In Fall 2019, Saint Rose will be the first college or university in New York State to launch a concentration in sales management (while also offering a sales management minor).
The sales management concentration, a track within the Bachelor of Science in Marketing, includes coursework in personal selling, negotiation and conflict resolution, sales management, and data analysis. Sales professional in residence, Mark Michalisin, a former vice president of business development at Morcon, a leading converter of napkin, towel, tissue, and specialty products, with 20 years of sales experience, will lead the program and also coach students through national sales competitions.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, careers in sales management is ranked No. 3 in “Best Sales and Marketing Jobs,” with a median salary of $121,060 and 1.8 percent unemployment rate.
“Every company, for-profit companies and many non-profits, have a sales department. And there are a lot of job opportunities there, and these are high-paying jobs,” Dion said. “We want to prepare our students for these careers.”
The social work field is in need of professionals due to rising healthcare needs, an aging population, and rising economic and social inequities, said Janet Acker, assistant professor of social work and the director of the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program, which launched in Fall 2017. The program prepares students to address systemic issues from a prevention and wellness viewpoint.
“Our program is distinct from other local programs in that it is an advanced generalist program,” she said. “Our work is to help students understand, while we are serving people at the individual or family level, there are larger concerns that impact those individuals and families.”
A M.S. in Social Work was among a list of degrees identified by the Hanover Research as “programs to watch” in 2017. Since the college launched the MSSW program, it has drawn 48 students and anticipates 60 or more next year.
Acker said students with a B.S. in Social Work (BSSW) from an accredited institution can complete the program in one year. Otherwise, career changers or others can complete the program in two years, and can attend part time or full time.
“For the longest time, there have been limited graduate study options, specifically for our BSSW students. There aren’t that many programs that are local, which makes it hard for students who are working, who have families and children, or who are nontraditional students. This option allows them to come back and advance their professional careers,” she said.
Compelling and insightful content is top of mind at most organizations. That’s why the Center for Art & Design collaborated with the Communications Department in Spring 2019 to provide a new bachelor’s degree program in design media arts.
The program offers students a comprehensive education in art, communications, and digital design, and prepares them for careers in a multitude of fields.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, the leading global content marketing education and training organization, business-to-consumer content creation spending increased 56 percent in 2018.
“This collaborative degree initiative is a model of interdisciplinary and innovative thinking, and reflects the industry demand for versatile artists and communicators who are ready for the needs of the 21st century digital world,” said Cailin Brown, chair of the Department of Communications.
Since April 2017, Saint Rose has added 14 new and innovative programs to its portfolio.
Here’s how the college is preparing students for the future: