The Lakeland Mirror

With new programs comes new potential

Peter Ludolph, Staff Reporter

With the coming changes in the name of Lakeland College to Lakeland University, there also exist changes in the form of revisions to curriculum.

The changes are pending approval as of right now by the college’s accreditors, however, they are expected to be approved. The college will be implementing two new programs into the array of majors already offered.

Meg Albrinck, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college, said, “One of the things that we are trying to do with these new programs is continue to find ways to help students be more effectively prepared for post-graduate success.”

The newest programs are a Management-Information Systems bachelor’s degree and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

The Management-Information Systems “Is taking courses from our business and computer science divisions, and packing them together into a new bachelor’s degree. It will revolve around using data in the management of companies,” said Dan Eck, president of Lakeland College.

This program will set students up for great success. Albrinck said, “This is definitely a booming field. The need for analysts is huge and this degree gives students some of the technical tools, as well as some of the soft skills, that will help them to move into some of those fields.”

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing will make Lakeland somewhat specialized within the writing field. Eck said, “There’s only a handful of these programs in the Midwest.”

Additionally, with the growth of this facet of the writing program, a door may open in the future toward further expansion. Eck said, “If that program grows, which would be terrific, I would love to get to a place where we have to hire more faculty to support the number of students in a program like that.”

When it comes to the Bachelor in Management-Information Systems, the addition of the program makes sense because, according to Eck, “It uses existing coursework taught by existing professors.”

The college is also awaiting approval on changing the major science degrees from Bachelors of Arts to Bachelors of Science degrees. These would include exercise science, chemistry, biology, biochemistry and computer science.

Tim Fruit, senior chemistry major, said, “A Bachelor of Science reflects more accurately the degree than the current Bachelor of Arts title does.” In relation to this, Albrinck said, “We don’t want to, in any way, hold our students back just by the designation of the degree.”

With the elimination of programs last year, it is confusing to some students why the college is so quickly developing new programs.

Eck said, “We addressed some low enrollment programs. We weren’t eliminating programs just to cut, we were doing it to free up our ability to move in different directions. That doesn’t mean that those programs weren’t valuable or important, but we may have not been the right college for those programs.”

The changes in programs also happens at different rates depending on the needs of each program and the market changes.

Eck said, “There are some programs that need to change more quickly than others. Business and technology programs have to change a little more quickly than perhaps some of the classics.” When it comes to the creation of these new programs and the past shutdown of programs, Albrinck said, “I think the key is that the new programs are being built out of existing programs, so there is some repackaging going on.”

There are some new concentrations in Lakeland’s MBA (Masters in Business Administration) program. According to Eck, there will be a “Human Resources concentration and a Supply Chain Management concentration.”

The Marketing major has also been expanded. According to Eck, “Four new emphasis areas have been established. Sales Management, Retail Management, Digital Marketing and Graphic Arts, which purposes are to make sure it stays relevant with what is going on outside of the college.”

There are also some changes to the Hospitality Management curriculum that will help students enter the field more experienced than before.

When it comes to the development of new programs, Albrinck said, “We have a team of individuals called the academic programing and innovation team who meet once a month, and the group includes faculty members, financial aid representatives, finance and admissions staff.” This extensive group considers all facets of program creation, including faculty requirements, physical space, equipment, library resources and much more.

For those concerned about the financials of these changes, the cost involved in the development of the new programs would be quite unsubstantial. The fact that no new faculty would be needed means that the only cost would lie within marketing the programs. Eck said, “For these programs, any additional cost will be in some initial marketing expenses to share the news.”

The changes that are going on right now are considered as changes that would have happened no matter what; however, the change to the university structure has encouraged greater enthusiasm within the changing process.

Eck said, “We have had an opportunity with the name change to really make a statement.”

For more information on the changes taking place at Lakeland, click on any of the following story topics: Board of trustees approves name change; Albrinck announced provost; Eck appoints two deans;  College to university: more than just a word;  New logo, same brand.

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