New graduate certificate programs approved

    Portland State will now offer two new graduate certificate programs in food marketing and logistics and computer security.

    The new certificate programs are a response to the rapidly growing food marketing industry in Oregon. PSU maintains an association to the Food Marketing Institute and offers a large undergraduate program in Food Marketing.

    ”It’s like having a focus,” says Dr. Roy Koch, provost and vice president for student affairs. “If students also have a graduate certificate, then that shows that they have taken a group of courses that specialized in that specific area.”

    The Food Marketing program requires a minimum of 17 credits, which includes two required courses, a project, and three elective credits. Students receive a certificate in Food Marketing when they graduate, and the course is aimed toward helping students narrow down their career choices in the culinary field. “The Food Marketing Industry Center’s connections to the industry help connect students to career opportunities with some of the world’s most interesting companies,” said Tom Gillpatrick, professor of marketing and executive director of the Food Industry Leadership Center.

    Students expected to take advantage of the program include those working at food industry companies or who hold a background in the food industry, in companies such as Fred Meyer, Frito-Lay, or students whose families are connected to the food industry. The program is expected to have 10-15 graduates per academic year.

    Computer security was proposed as a new graduate certificate course in much the same way as food marketing. Security in computers and other technological fields is becoming an increasingly more important field in today’s society, and the new courses for this particular graduate certificate have been modeled after courses that are recognized by the National Security Agency. In Portland, there are a variety of local firms involved in some aspect of computer security.

    ”Every company has its computer challenges, such as privacy issues, simply trying to keep corporate competitive information in confidence or just trying to operate in the current hostile environment of the internet,” said James Hook, in charge of the security curriculum within Portland State’s computer science department.

    The goal of the program will be to provide students with a solid foundation for the changes that will come in the field throughout their careers. “The only thing we know for sure about computer science is that the technology we use today will be obsolete in five years,” said Hook.

    The new program is, like Food Marketing, required to be taken by students at the same time as they pursue a degree. The program has a minimum of 21 credits, according to its formal description, including required core classes and a specific set of electives from which students can choose. The electives offered include cryptography, forensics, and others. Five core classes and two electives worth three credits each must be taken for completion of the program. The course is expected to have 25 graduates per academic year.

    Taking graduate certificate courses benefits students in several ways. “It gives them some special knowledge in their field,” says Dr. Roy Koch. “It helps when they’re looking for a job. It helps to identify them as someone with expertise and gives them a clear identification as someone who has done that specific course work.”