Tarleton authorized by regents to pursue new Ph.D., master’s degree

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STEPHENVILLE (February 11, 2016) — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today authorized Tarleton State University to seek final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for the school’s first Ph.D. degree program and a new master’s of science.

The doctor of philosophy in criminal justice and the master’s in applied psychology would, if approved by the THECB, begin this fall. The new programs would increase Tarleton’s total number of degree offerings to 95. One of those is a doctorate in education (Ed.D.)

“This is a major step forward,” said Tarleton Provost Dr. Karen Murray. “These new graduate-level programs support Tarleton’s longstanding commitment to academic advancement and improve employment opportunities for students. They help us meet critical community and workforce needs in North Texas and beyond.

“In addition to providing students with exemplary training, our new doctoral degree program will better position the university to define the national character of criminal justice,” she explained. “Graduates of this program will play multiple roles: teach criminal justice to future students, be in the forefront of scholarship and crucial policy issues, and occupy key positions in local, national and international organizations.

Tarleton’s new doctorate will be the only one of its kind in the nation, combining criminology, criminal justice and strategic studies in a single degree program. The program follows approval by the Texas A&M System in 2014 for Tarleton’s School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies within its College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

“Tarleton’s pursuit of strong, new degree programs—like the Ph.D. in criminal justice—is evidence of our continued commitment to respond to the changing academic and professional needs of our students and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Alex del Carmen, executive director of the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies. “The new degree program, along with our bachelor’s and master’s programs in criminal justice, is designed with the working professional in mind. Criminal justice students have the unique opportunity to learn from a group of diverse faculty members, known worldwide for their expertise.”

The doctoral program requires students to complete 66 credit hours and offers specializations in homeland security; cybercrime and international criminal justice; predictive and analytical policing; criminal justice leadership and public policy; and mediation, arbitration, legal studies and forensics.

One of only three in Texas, Tarleton’s new graduate-level degree in applied psychology will prepare students for careers in mental health, market research and human resources. The 30-hour program includes thesis and non-thesis tracks. The non-thesis track requires a comprehensive exam to graduate.

“This program is unique in that it combines psychological principles and research methods with best practices for the contemporary challenges facing today’s organizations, their employees and consumers,” said Dr. Barry Lambert, dean of Tarleton’s College of Graduate Studies. “From the corporate environment to the public sector, the expected rate of job growth for applied psychologists over the next several years is an astonishing 53 percent.”

In other business, the A&M System Regents approved renaming Vanderbilt Street on Tarleton’s Stephenville campus as Rudder Way in honor of Gen. James Earl Rudder—one of the most decorated soldiers in the U.S. Army during World War II. Rudder attended Tarleton’s Agricultural College in 1928 and 1929 and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1932 with a degree in industrial education.

Rudder went on to become a vice president of Texas A&M University in 1958 and president in 1959. He served as president of the A&M System from 1965 until his death in 1970.

“By renaming Vanderbilt Street as Rudder Way, Tarleton makes a well-deserved tribute to an outstanding alumnus and a gifted leader who had a significant impact on the nation, the state of Texas and The Texas A&M University System,” said Tarleton President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio.

Regents granted emeritus status to three Tarleton faculty members:
• Dr. Don Zelman, professor emeritus of history, with 40 years of service,
• Dr. Pat Zelman, associated professor emerita of history, with 30 years of service, and
• Dr. Mark Littleton, professor emeritus of educational leadership and policy studies, with 27 years of service.

Tarleton’s Dr. Leslie Stanley-Stevens, professor of sociology, was recognized as one of 12 faculty members from across the A&M System selected as a 2014-15 Regents Professor. Joining the university in 1995, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from social anthropology and gender in society to sociology of the family and social psychology.

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.

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