Tarleton State University Introduces Six Majors Beginning for Fall 2022


STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University students wishing to study communication sciences and disorders have a new major waiting for them. The major is one of six being introduced this fall, along with horticultural and plant sciences, statistics, legal studies, biotechnology and cybersecurity.

“In addition to supporting Tarleton’s 123-year commitment to academic advancement, these new market-responsive and innovative programs will connect students to growing professional fields and improve quality of life for all of us,” said Dr. Diane Stearns, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The communication sciences and disorders field encompasses caring and creative problem solvers in speech-language pathology, audiology, special education and medicine. The new Tarleton major addresses the science behind how we communicate with and care for people, from birth to older adults.

“Tarleton’s undergraduate program in communication sciences and disorders is focused on providing students with a quality, comprehensive education with opportunities for hands-on learning experiences,” said program Director Dr. Lauren Pierson. “This program can lead to careers in fields such as speech-language pathology and audiology, which are growing rapidly. Graduates will be poised to meet the regional and state need for practitioners in healthcare and education.”

U.S. News & World Report, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranked speech-language pathologist fourth in its “Best Health Care Jobs” and seventh in “100 Best Jobs” for 2021. Contact Pierson at 682-703-7113 or lpierson@tarleton.edu for more information.

The new bachelor of science in horticultural and plant sciences, in the Department of Wildlife and Natural Resources (College of Agriculture and Natural Resources), will emphasize four concentrations — horticultural science, sustainable agriculture and agroecology, horticultural management and horticultural business.

At least three new courses — Fundamentals of Market Gardening (HORT 2320), Regenerative Agriculture Systems (3310) and Principles of Horticultural Crop Production (HORT 4323) — are anticipated. A Tropical Agroecology and Natural Resources study away course (HORT 4342) will take students on an experiential learning journey to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The initial study away course was held the first summer session in June.

“It was an amazing success,” said Dr. Stuart Weiss, Assistant Professor in the Department of Wildlife and Natural Resources. “We had nine graduate students and seven undergraduates participate in the agroecology and natural resources course.”

Direct questions to Dr. Weiss at sweiss@tarleton.edu.

The new BS in statistics will explore the collection, analysis, modeling and presentation of data. Based in the Department of Mathematics (College of Science and Mathematics), the program will build critical thinking skills in data analysis and research, leading to work in a variety of fields — agriculture, education, environmental and social sciences, finance, government, healthcare, psychology — and with job titles such as actuary, analyst, data scientist and statistical consultant.

“Virtually all aspects of our society revolve around the collection and analysis of data as well as predictions based on data,” noted math Professor Dr. Keith Emmert. “This student-focused program trains students to excel in this modern world.”

Students and faculty mentors will develop a concentration tailored to specific interests. Visit https://www.tarleton.edu/bs-statistics/index.html to learn more.

The new BS in legal studies, offered through the Department of Government, Legal Studies and Philosophy (College of Liberal and Fine Arts) is an excellent way for students to become informed and engaged citizens. Whether or not they pursue a career in law, graduates will have the strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills desired by public and private employers. For information, visit https://www.tarleton.edu/ba-legal-studies/index.html.

The pre-lawconcentration provides an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to hone reasoning, rhetoric, analysis, critical thinking and writing abilities. The paralegal concentration is ideal for students who have a logical and analytical mind and thrive on attention to detail.

Paralegals cannot provide legal services to the public, except as permitted by law. However, working on a legal team supervised by an attorney, paralegals perform vital tasks like drafting legal documents, interviewing witnesses and clients, and preparing trial exhibits.

Students looking for an exciting area of study in the STEM field now have a new option as Tarleton introduces a bachelor of science degree in biotechnology.

Biotechnology applies an understanding of biological processes to develop products for use in medicine (both human and animal), industry, the environment, and agriculture. Tarleton becomes one of three universities in the state to offer an undergraduate biotechnology degree, alongside the University of Houston and the University of Houston – Downtown.

The new degree will be offered by the Department of Biological Sciences in concert with existing degrees in biology and biomedical science. Students will focus on one of three concentrations — molecular biotechnology, bioinformatics, or plant and animal biotechnology.

“With the steady growth of biotechnology in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas, we enthusiastically look forward to offering this new degree to help meet the expanding needs of a skilled workforce in North Texas,” said department head Dr. Max Sanderford.

The biotechnology degree expands degrees offered through the College of Science and Mathematics. Dean Mike Huggins said it’s exciting to add biotechnology to the degree portfolio. “The new program offers students opportunities to pursue careers in a variety of important and cutting-edge STEM fields.”

Consistent with its commitment to undergraduate education, Tarleton is investing in the biotechnology program. Renovation of two existing labs and a preparation room are underway, with completion anticipated by early fall. Students entering the program will encounter state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation. Visit https://web.tarleton.edu/biology/to learn more.

The new bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity teaches how to assess computer systems, recommend safeguards, and implement and maintain security devices and procedures. The Tarleton undergraduate Cybersecurity Certificate, offered jointly by the departments of Computer Information Systems and Criminal Justice, takes an interdisciplinary approach to ensure full coverage for modern information technology (IT) resources.

Jobs in cybersecurity are among the fastest growing in the workplace. Study areas target computer architecture, programming and systems analysis; networking; telecommunications; cryptography; the internet of things (IoT); security system design; applicable laws and regulations; risk assessment; contingency planning; user access; and investigation techniques.

“The Department of Criminal Justice is excited to be part of these interdisciplinary programs in cybersecurity,” said department head Dr. Rhonda Dobbs. “We look forward to not only the opportunities to engage students in the classroom, but also in research activities.”

The Tarleton program complies with National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework recommendations. For more information, visit https://web.tarleton.edu/mcis/cybersecurity-certificate/.

In addition to these four undergraduate majors, two new graduate programs — the master of science in agricultural economics and the master of arts in teacher education — have been   developed. Both await Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approval.

A PhD in counseling is expected to be approved soon by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

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