With the start of the 2005-06 year comes a host of new academic programs at PSU, including a handful of new doctoral and master’s degree options and a complete review of the University Studies program.
A groundbreaking Ph.D. in biology, the first disciplinary doctoral program in science at PSU, is scheduled for external review by the Oregon University System.
“It’s a great point of pride for us, and a major step forward for the university,” said Roy Koch, provost and vice president of academic affairs.
In the one-to-two-day process, a team of three external reviewers will visit the campus to examine the proposed doctoral program in detail, including its curriculum, physical resources and faculty.
After the external review, the team’s report goes back to the Oregon University System, which either approves the program or recommends revisions. Once approved by OUS, doctoral programs go on to the state Board of Higher Education for final approval.
A doctorate in technology management is also scheduled for external review by the OUS, and a doctorate in sociology and social inequity has been submitted to the OUS for consideration.
The state Board has already approved a new doctorate in applied psychology. Program concentrations will include industrial and organizational psychology, applied social and community psychology and applied developmental psychology.
The program is expected to graduate 15 to 20 students annually, with the first graduates appearing in about five years.
New programs aren’t just confined to doctoral aspirants. Two new master’s programs are fully developed and pending OUS approval: an masters in art history and an executive master of public administration (E.M.P.A.).
Four master’s programs in engineering and computer science are also being offered off-site in Beaverton, via a program known as “West Side.” The West Side master’s offerings include computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and engineering and technology management, and the Oregon master of software engineering.
According to Koch, a bachlor’s in administration of justice will soon be offered via a fully online format, administered through the Extended Studies program.
A potentially important change on the undergraduate horizon is the formal review of the University Studies program.
“University Studies is 10 years old,” Koch said. “It hasn’t been revisited since its design and implementation. It’s a natural time to assess the program and ask what’s working and what’s not.”
“PSU gets a lot of very positive external publicity from University Studies,” said Cynthia Brown, chair of the University Studies evaluation committee. “There are a lot of great things about the program – now we’re looking to take it to the next level.”
The committee is charged with a complete review of the curricular aspects of University Studies as well as whether or not it is meeting its objectives.
“We’re going to the whole university community for help,” said Brown, chair of the department of computer science in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. “During fall term, we’ll be using questionnaires, town meetings and focus groups to try and solicit input.”
A web site – http://unstreview.groups.pdx.edu – is already posted and awaiting comments from students, staff and faculty. The site will also be used to keep the university community informed of the committee’s progress.
The University Studies review committee will also look at the additional, “tacked on” requirements for the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees – e.g., foreign language credits for the former and extra science for the latter – and consider whether or not those might be incorporated into the University Studies requirements.
Is there any chance that the University Studies program will go away?
“Not completely,” Brown said. “There may be some restructuring, though.”
One curriculum change has a brand new feel. On Sept. 29, PSU and Mt. Hood Community College will announce the beginning of a joint Hospitality and Tourism Program. The college will provide an associate degree in hospitality and tourism, after which students will transfer to PSU to complete a baccalaureate in business administration.
Many of the training classrooms will be located at PSU’s University Place. Tourism is Oregon’s second largest industry (high technology is the first), generating $2.9 billion in the Portland area in 2004 and creating more than 27,000 local jobs.
Portland State offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs and confers more master’s degrees annually than any other Oregon university.