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GERB provides $250,000 for new master's programs at regional campuses

Jun 20, 2008  
By Andrea Gibson and Linda Lockhart  

Ohio University's Graduate Education and Research Board (GERB) has awarded $250,000 in one-time funding to establish three new master's degree programs in organizational communication, strategic leadership and dietetics at the regional campuses.

The university created GERB to identify specific initiatives that are consistent with Vision OHIO's graduate education and research academic priorities and merit the strategic investment of central funds.

This spring, GERB considered five proposals for allocations from its Future Growth Fund, which was created to support the development of graduate programs that fill an educational need at a regional campus or learning center. Each proposal was required to have at least one Ohio University regional campus partner.

GERB selected three of the proposals for funding: a master of arts in organizational communication at the Pickerington Center, a master's degree in strategic leadership at the Pickerington Center and a food and nutrition integrated graduate dietetic internship program for the Lancaster and Southern campuses.  

?The chosen proposals represent great opportunities for expansion or crystallization of programs needed in the areas served by the regional campuses,? said Sergio Ulloa, a professor of physics and astronomy who co-chairs the GERB committee. ?These particular proposals made very convincing cases for the ?market need' of their program, and therefore their long-term sustainability, which is an important element.?

The School of Communication Studies will receive $97,000 to start a master of arts in organizational communication at the Pickerington Center. The program will enroll about 25 students who will take courses in the communication dynamics of organizations, from for-profit corporations to nonprofit governmental entities. A 2004 study showed an unfilled need for such a program in the Columbus area, and program organizers expect to attract professionals seeking an alternative to an MBA. The program is slated to start in fall 2009.

A master's degree in strategic leadership, also to be offered at the Pickerington Center, will combine the knowledge base in three leadership disciplines -- educational, public and business administration -- to offer a program attractive to mid-career professionals in fields such as teaching, social services, human resources administration and nonprofit administration. It will receive $20,000 to assist with a startup. Unlike conventional programs, the new initiative will emphasize strategic leadership functions across organizations and sectors and not just leadership roles.

A collaboration of the Educational Studies Department in the
College of Education, the Voinovich School and the Management Systems
Department in the College of Business, the program will be built on an
interdisciplinary curriculum and will use innovative instructional
methods, such as multi-faceted group projects and teaching cases, to
bridge theory and practice. The goal is to enroll the first cohort of
25 students at the Pickerington Center in fall 2009.

The School of Human and Consumer Sciences will receive $133,000 to create an integrated graduate dietetic internship program. Though the school currently offers a bachelor's degree in dietetics and a master's degree in food in nutrition, it currently doesn't provide the six- to 12-month internship required nationally to become a registered dietitian. The new program will organize internship experiences in medically underserved areas at the Lancaster and Southern campuses.

Charles Bird, vice provost for university outreach, praised the programs for their potential to increase access to graduate-level education. ?The (organizational communication and strategic leadership) programs are examples of what we think is tremendous potential to grow graduate education at the Pickerington Center,? he added.

GERB committee co-chair Jim Rankin, interim vice president for research, noted that the three programs selected by GERB suggest strong strategies for generating student tuition revenue and can sustain themselves financially after the first year of university funding.

"All three of these programs are built on a recognized need in the Southeast Ohio and Columbus areas," Rankin said. "They should provide a good return on our investment."

The GERB committee included deans, faculty and administrators from all colleges. 


Related Links
School of Communication Studies: http://www.coms.ohiou.edu/ 
School of Human and Consumer Sciences http://www.ohiou.edu/humanandconsumer  

Published: Jun 20, 2008 2:15 PM  

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