New B.P.S. degree targets workforce to spur regional economic growth
New B.P.S. degree targets workforce to spur regional economic growthApril 27, 2001Linda Kristensenlgkriste@syr.edu
Through its new bachelor of professional studies (B.P.S.) degree, designed for adult part-time students, Syracuse University will further contribute to the region’s economic development and benefit the local workforce, Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw said at a press conference to announce the degree April 25 at SU’s University College An innovative multidisciplinary curriculum will prepare B.P.S. graduates for the challenges and opportunities of the global economy of the 21st century, Chancellor Shaw said.
For working students, the B.P.S. will provide professional skills for their workplace and education for their world, he said. The New York State education department has approved the University’s first B.P.S. degree in four specialized programs of study–applied computer technologies, legal studies, organizational leadership and professional communication. The B.P.S. represents career-oriented programs of study-built on a liberal arts foundation-that enable people in the workforce to enhance their professional competencies, Chancellor Shaw said.
The degree is designed for working students, and is ideal for graduates of two-year schools, transfer students and those who want to earn a second baccalaureate to change careers.
“The B.P.S. will be especially attractive to our graduates who seek their next credential in work-related programs,” said Onondaga Community College President Deborah Sydow during the press conference. “The B.P.S. can give them high-quality preparation for a changing, world-class workplace. We are delighted to work with the University to maximize the number of OCC credits that can be transferred into the B.P.S. degree.”
The B.P.S. responds to the changing workplace, which requires a combination of skills that can be transferred to many different careers, Chancellor Shaw explained, outlining the curriculum design. The B.P.S. curriculum defines desired competency outcomes in response to employers’ expressed needs and labor market trends.
The B.P.S. is intended for today’s workers who increasingly depend on education to build their personal employment value. A recent American Demographics’ study suggests that these workers see jobs as interchangeable commodities, subject to comparison shopping and short-term commitment and that education is expected to become even more important for job advancement in the future.
In today’s workforce, “knowledge rules,” Carl Van Horn, director of Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, told American Demographics. “Because of the pace of change in this global economy, people who have it are more in demand and are in a better place to negotiate the conditions of their employment.”
The B.P.S. addresses employers’ concerns that too many in the workforce are better prepared in the technical aspects of their jobs than they are in such practical performance skills as communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, business skills, sensitivity to diversity issues, and an ability to learn new things. It answers anticipated needs in the next decade for employees with a global perspective and international awareness.
Curriculum planners-an all-University faculty committee-drew from the inventory of undergraduate courses and added 35 new courses to match the desired competencies, because no other single SU degree program encompassed the desired breadth and applied level of study. Courses from two certificate programs have been revamped to qualify for academic credit in two of the B.P.S. professional programs. They are 13 new computer technology courses to prepare network professionals and application developers for a business environment. SU’s American Bar Association-approved paralegal certificate program inspired the 21 new legal studies courses.
“The B.P.S. degree can help the business community by enabling technical people to broaden their skills and by enabling generalists to develop specialties,” said William Allyn, chief executive officer of Welch Allyn Ventures and chair of the Business Council of New York. “Either way, the B.P.S. enhances the proficiency of our existing workforce and that will help us overcome the shortage of skilled labor in the tight job market. It is good to know that SU seeks to collaborate-to help us with this challenge.”
The 120-credit B.P.S. degree features two required cores-a liberal studies core (31-37 credits) and a professional competencies core (30 credits)-complemented by a professional concentration of 30 to 32 credits and 21 to 29 credits of electives. Each of the four professional programs for the B.P.S. degree has a distinct set of career competency outcomes.
At the press conference, Chancellor Shaw introduced the academic co-directors for the B.P.S.: Norma J. Burgess, professor in the College for Human Development, and Arthur D. Jensen, associate professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. With the support of an interdisciplinary faculty B.P.S. Program Committee, they will oversee the new B.P.S. degree’s academic standards to ensure that the B.P.S. upholds the high-quality and reputation of all Syracuse University degrees, he said. In addition, they will teach the B.P.S. Senior Seminar, a new capstone course to develop students’ teamwork and a multidisciplinary perspective.
The home college for the B.P.S. degree is University College, SU’s continuing education division, where SU part-time undergraduate admissions applications are accepted throughout the year. In line with adult students’ diverse backgrounds, the B.P.S. degree has its own policies for transfer credit and assessment of prior learning. Using flexible, individualized admissions evaluations, UC recognizes adult students’ work and life experiences as well as their strong motivation and goal orientation. For the convenience of working students, B.P.S. courses are offered in varied formats. The entire B.P.S. degree may be completed in the evening format, but it may also done with daytime classes and via distance education, either online or through limited residency. SU part-time students can begin non-matriculated study anytime; however, admission to a degree program is required to qualify for financial aid.
The B.P.S. degree programs complement the full range of SU undergraduate degree programs open to SU part-time students through University College. These include the traditional B.S. and B.A. degree programs, taken by most SU undergraduates, as well as SU’s two other degree programs for adult students-the associate and bachelor’s in liberal studies.
For more information about the B.P.S. degree, visit the Web at www.YeSU.syr.edu