MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

December 7, 2019

New degree programs provide opportunities for students, assist with workforce needs

Growing degree programs is a top priority in the plans to transform Mayville State University. Several of our proposed degree programs were approved by the State Board of Higher Education during the 2018-2019 academic year. They are the Associate of Arts (liberal arts transfer); undergraduate certificates in online digital teaching, biotechnology, and college studies; a Bachelor of Science degree in sport coaching; the Master of Science degree in nursing; and graduate certificates in nurse educator and nursing leadership.

We’re very excited about these new opportunities for students, and our faculty and staff are working diligently, getting the programs underway and available in as timely a manner as possible.

Four of the new degree programs are being offered as of the fall semester of 2019. They are the Associate of Arts (liberal arts transfer), undergraduate certificates in online digital teaching and biotechnology, and the Bachelor of Science degree in sport coaching.

Students attending regional universities in North Dakota have limited or no opportunity for degree completion if they choose to stop-out or transfer to another university. In many cases, the student does not choose to stop-out, but a financial or other change in his or her personal life prohibits the student from completing a four-year degree. When they leave the university and have more than 60 semester hours, it is difficult for them to utilize their education to secure employment without a transcriptable degree. The credibility of this degree provides greater employment opportunities and the Associate of Arts (liberal arts transfer) degree also gives students an attainable degree path.

The undergraduate digital teaching certificate addresses the needs of undergraduate students and associate degree completers seeking pedagogical knowledge and skills to effectively teach in an online environment. As we know, more course content and learning is being moved to online formats and this helps prepare those using online to better serve their learners. 

The certificate in biotechnology program has been developed to assist students pursuing baccalaureate degrees, as well as those who have high school transcripts or General Equivalency Diplomas (GED). These individuals aren’t seeking bachelor’s degrees, but are looking to position themselves to have a level of knowledge that will qualify them to be considered for many entry-level positions, either in biotechnology-based industries or medical hospital or clinic settings. I’m proud to say that we’re helping build an educated workforce and meet the needs of employers with this proposal.

The Bachelor of Science degree in sport coaching is designed to provide students with the conceptual and experiential practices related to coaching and athletics. This major equips students with a course of study that better-prepares them conceptually, experientially, and professionally.

The undergraduate certificate in college studies, which will be available to dual credit students; Master of Science degree in nursing; and graduate certificates in nurse educator and nursing leadership require further approvals before we can begin offering them to students. Our Division of Nursing has added a much-needed discipline to our university, allowing us to assist with national workforce needs. This is an important next step to help move Mayville State forward. 

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the accrediting agency with which Mayville State is associated, will be on campus early in January to review the new Master of Science in Nursing program, as well as the graduate certificates in nurse educator and nursing leadership. The HLC, an independent corporation, is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states. With the approval of our accrediting body, we hope to get coursework underway immediately.

Similar to the format presently offered with Mayville State’s highly successful online RN-to-BSN program, an innovative offering of a Master of Science degree in nursing program will employ an entirely online, asynchronous approach, with all courses formatted in five-week blocks. The graduate certificates will allow for advanced education of baccalaureate-prepared nurses who do not want to pursue full master’s degrees, or who are seeking or advancing their roles in nursing education and leadership and management.

Given the current and ongoing nursing workforce shortage, there is an increased demand for master’s degree-prepared nurse educators to educate the developing nursing workforce at technical, undergraduate, and graduate levels in academia, and to serve as staff development educators in industry.

We at Mayville State are pleased that we are able to offer these educational opportunities for our citizens and to help with critical workforce needs. It is our goal to provide the best student-centered education possible at an affordable cost, while employing flexible course delivery methods. As an example, we’re able to serve full-time nurses who, without the distance opportunities, would not be able to attend Mayville State.