Saint Leo University will offer four new degree programs, beginning in the fall.
It also will expand its existing Bachelor of Arts in English to include additional courses and a new specialization in creative writing.
The new bachelor’s degrees will include the following majors:
- Software Engineering
- Data Science
- Medical Humanities
“They’re wonderful opportunities for students,” said Dr. Mary Spoto, vice president for academic affairs at the university. “They’re cutting-edge programs, meet employer demands, workforce demands, and they really do prepare students.”
The software engineering program is much needed, based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spoto said.
Software developer jobs are projected to grow by 24 percent, in the 10-year period between 2016 to 2026, according to bureau statistics.
The Bachelor of Science program will be available both online and on campus, with courses in software architecture, design and development.
It is also the only new program that will offer a master’s degree.
“The graduate program is a 30-credit program and you can complete it in one year, if you’re going full-time,” the vice president added.
Data science also will be a Bachelor of Science program, but will only be offered on campus.
It will delve into mathematics, statistics, computer science and even psychology, among other fields.
The Bachelor of Arts in medical humanities will branch into two divisions: the pre-medical track, and the health and humanities track.
The pre-medical option will offer courses such as biology and chemistry, and will be geared to students who may aspire to go on to medical school.
Health and humanities, however, will help prepare students looking toward social work, psychology or occupational therapy.
The medical humanities programs will be on campus, only.
The Black Box Theatre, on campus, played a role in inspiring the new Bachelor of Arts in Theater.
“Once we had that, we knew we had a good, bona fide performance space for students and would be able to launch a theater major,” Spoto said.
Besides working on campus theater projects, students will take coursework in acting, directing, production and writing.
While not all the new programs will be available online, campus-bound courses will be flexible, as they’re scheduled at various times on weekdays.
Saint Leo also has education centers in Tampa, Spring Hill and other areas for those unable to make a long commute.
The decision to implement these programs was years in the making.
The university went through a program review process, examining whether existing majors were reaching standards to achieve student success.
It also analyzed research data to see what careers were flourishing in industry, and surveyed students to determine what jobs appealed to them.
Employers from various lines of work were also asked for their feedback.
Based on the collected data, these majors were chosen as a good addition to the university.
It was also determined that courses for these majors should be incorporated with ‘power skills’ learning.
Those skills aim to teach students how to better present themselves for the workforce. That includes enhancing their verbal and writing skills, and helping them to become thoughtful problem solvers.
“Those are the skills that employers are telling universities across the country, ‘We really want these and we’re not sure we’re getting them from graduates,’” Spoto said.
She also noted that “students should pursue what is a genuine interest, because they will perform academically the strongest and have confidence in knowing that all of our programs are preparing [them] for what is to come.”
Published April 10, 2019