March 6, 2024

BOG Notebook: Three new degree programs receive approval

DETROIT – The Wayne State University Board of Governors has unanimously approved the establishment of three new degree programs, including a bachelor of science in professional biomedical sciences (B.S.-PBS) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

The program approvals came during the board’s general meeting on March 6 in the ballroom of the Student Center Building. All three new programs will take effect this fall.

The B.S.-PBS is a degree completion program aimed at about 50 students a year who leave Wayne State upon admission into a professional medical school, such as a pharmacy program. But it is not a pre-med major, nor is it a degree that students can actually declare.

“In the past, these students would have just left without a degree,” said Darin Ellis, associate provost for academic programs. “This program is designed to accept transfer credits from the professional program to finish their degree.”

Ellis said the new biomedical sciences degree could have a small but meaningful impact on Wayne State’s six-year graduation rate by up to 2%.

For CLAS and Wayne State, such a degree would enable the continuation of institutional support, honor the work that students have done in the past and acknowledge the success of students now studying in a professional program with a bachelor’s. This degree is only open to students previously enrolled as undergraduate students in a CLAS major who meet the established eligibility requirements. Eligible students will be able to earn a bachelor’s after transferring credits from approximately a year of successfully completed professional school credits without having to return to an undergraduate program.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Laurie Lauzon Clabo said the establishment of such a degree, “is a common practice at other similar institutions, and many of these students will all go on to receive a graduate degree, and many of them will be in programs where there is not a conferral of a baccalaureate or a master's degree. During that progress, this allows them to add that bachelor's degree to their CV with completion of the appropriate credit.”

Trustee Danielle Atkinson said she likes that adding the B.S.-PBS program could potentially increase graduation rates.

“Everybody's heard over the past six or seven months that there's a big move on the part of the state for degree completion,” she said. “So, this sounds like one of the pieces in the puzzle that will help Wayne State’s graduation rate, but even the state’s as a whole. I think it’s a good idea.”

The Board of Governors also approved two new programs at the Mike Ilitch School of Business: a joint master of business administration (M.B.A.) and master of science in accounting (M.S.A.) degree, and a master of science in organizational leadership.

The joint business administration and accounting degree is aimed toward individuals who want to pursue a general leadership role in commerce and industry, while also going deeper on their financial expertise.

“The current M.B.A. program has many different options and tracks,” Ellis said, “but it doesn't on its own meet the Michigan accounting requirements for graduates to be able to apply to be a CPA. One of the benefits of this is that when students finish the joint program, they would be eligible for that professional licensure.”

To earn both the M.B.A. and M.S.A. degrees, students must successfully complete a minimum of 54 total credits with satisfying required courses under both programs.

The M.B.A.-M.S.A. program has been reviewed with industry professionals, and there is a consensus that the program is not only needed but will be well received by prospective students.

Wayne State will be the third Michigan school to offer the program, joining the University of Michigan-Flint and Walsh College.

Board vice chair Bryan Barnhill II said he’s excited about the program’s value and how it will positively affect the business industry.

“As someone who pursued an M.B.A., you graduate feeling like you’re not a master of anything,” he said. “You just have some exposure to these various fields of business. But I think this gives us an opportunity to get the general preparation and organizational leadership in the private and nonprofit sectors, while also having a focus in accounting. It seems like a good program, and I’ve noticed that other universities have pursued the same dual degree path.”

The master of science in organizational leadership is a specialty online program that has been designed in partnership with the Ilitch School’s Management Industrial Advisory Board to meet the needs of industry and commerce.

This Ilitch School program is structured to provide aspiring, emerging and mid-level leaders with the skills to lead diverse workforces and navigate uncertain and complex work environments. Both full-time and part-time plans of study are offered to allow students to complete the program in as little as 12 months, or 18-22 months for working professionals.

“The management department is very deep in their expertise and leadership and leadership research, so they are the drivers of this particular degree in its design,” said Ilitch School Dean Virginia Kleist. “However, they have a very strong industry board who are also leaders in industry across Detroit and the region, and they reviewed the curriculum and the syllabi that was proposed.”

The Board of Governors approved the purchase of a magnetic resonance imaging system (MRI) from Pennsylvania-based Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.

The contract, not to exceed $3,378,201, is for a 3T MAGNETOM Cima.X scanner, the most modern Food and Drug Administration-approved 3T human MRI, which will be housed in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State.

The MAGNETOM Cima.X is Siemens’ strongest 3T MRI system ever, providing deeper insights into the human body. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, offering an improved ultra-strong body gradient system that will dramatically improve the spatial and temporal resolution of the MR imaging that is critical for advancing the science in detecting finer anatomical structures and enhancing tissue characterization of the brain’s microstructure.

“It has a greater traditional temporal resolution, meaning you can take images at a faster pace and give us higher quality images and it has a better technology package that comes with it,” said Ezemenari Obasi, Ph.D., Wayne State’s vice president for research. “Same, when you’re investing in technology space, you want to give what’s best available at that moment in time.”

The National Institute of Health allocated $2 million toward Wayne State’s purchase of the updated MRI system with a $1.378 million match from the Office of Vice President for Research and the Wayne State School of Medicine.

Installation of the new MRI system is expected in May.


Bill Roose
Phone: 313-577-5699

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