Academic Affairs Committee requests new degree programs at Iowa Board of Regents meeting


Iowa State Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert introduces a total of six new program requests for the coming academic year. 

Kelly Snawerdt

The Jun. 1 through 3 Board of Regents meeting and its committee teams met Wednesday in the Levitt Center at the University of Iowa to discuss each group’s agenda items. The academic affairs committee was the second committee to speak, and Iowa State’s new program requests were discussed at that time.

Iowa State’s Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert introduced the first new program request, which was the Master of Science in artificial intelligence (AI). This program would be provided by the department of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and would be a notable field of study for Iowa State to include in its options of study due to the increasing importance of AI technology in the modern world.

“AI is a very rapidly growing field, a very rapidly growing technology with many academic and professional opportunities with applications in such areas as health care, education and manufacturing, among many others,” Wickert said.

AI jobs have grown by 74 percent annually over the last six years, according to Wickert, and the program will initially be offered on campus with the committee exploring the potential of the program being offered online in the future, depending on the market demand. 

After noting the new AI program, Wickert welcomed the request of the Bachelor of Business Administration in the Ivy College of Business, which would be an online program. This would be accessible to students with some prior college experience and is targeted for working and new professionals with at least 45 credits of college education. The main focus of the new degree is to appeal to students who wish to balance a full-time job and the full completion of a four-year degree at an accredited university, according to the meeting agenda

Also in the College of Business, there was a program request for a Bachelor of Science in human resource management, which is an area of high growth potential and is a field of study that many prospective students are interested in. Human resources is currently a track within the management major, but with adding its own program, this would be consistent in keeping with the professionalization of the human resources field. 

“It is the most commonly requested degree program that our College of Business does not already offer,” Wickert said. “A second major instead of a track is also more attractive to employers who understand the credentials of the students.”  

Wickert then moved to the department of education within the College of Human Sciences, where he stated the committee is proposing a Bachelor of Science secondary major in education. He pointed out that this would not be a stand-alone major, but rather would work in conjunction with another teacher preparation program that undergraduate students would enroll in. This would be a program that would keep Iowa State in a competitive market when compared with other major public universities who already offer specific education degrees. 

The committee also introduced the addition of a Master of Arts in teaching for secondary education and a Master of Arts in teaching for math education. The provost said these degrees would help cover a gap currently existing in the education department, which is by providing students with a credential that recognizes post undergraduate study that many students wish to pursue.

The funding for the new requested programs is expected to come from tuition revenue generated by incoming students enrolling in these programs, which Iowa State expects to be self-sustaining. 

With no objections from the board, the academic affairs committee will recommend approval for all new program additions.