University develops, offers three new degrees

Starting this semester, Missouri Southern is offering three new degrees.

Through the school of technology, students can now earn degrees in health science, juvenile justice and justice studies.

Dr. Tia Strait, dean of the school of technology, said the health science degree was developed by a group of faculty members in each of the health fields and biology department.

“There was an identified need for a bachelor’s degree completion program for those students that graduated with an associate’s degree in an allied health profession,” Strait said.

She said more students were asking for a bachelor’s degree they could complete.

“What that does is that helps them to move up the ladder as far as if they wanted to go into management or supervisory positions,” she said.

She said if the students wanted to work for government agencies, for public health or a company who sold medical supplies or pharmaceuticals, they would have to receive a bachelor’s degree.

“It [the degree] diversifies them a little bit and gives them more of an opportunity to have different employment opportunities,” Strait said.

In order to receive a health science degree, Strait said a student needs a degree in allied health, which would be radiology, respiratory or dental hygiene, or an associate degree in nursing.

She also said the student must take 18 hours of core classes in the degree and finish the 51 hours in core curriculum.

Glenda Pippin, respiratory care education program coordinator, said she thinks the health science degree is good.

“I think for a long time we needed an avenue for our health-related associate degree programs to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a health-related discipline,” Pippin said.

Pippin said with this degree, students are more marketable.

“I think it’s more marketable than having a bachelor’s in respiratory or [a] bachelor’s in dental [hygiene] or radiology because when you have [a] health science degree,” she said, “then that opens your avenues up.”

Ashley Cox, senior health science major, said it is a wonderful opportunity, and she is excited about the degree.

“[I] hope it will help me to climb up the ladder,” Cox said.

With juvenile justice degree, Strait said they noticed students who would graduate with a criminal justice degree would go work in the juvenile justice system.

“Faculty in the criminal justice department noticed this, and they are very innovative and proactive in keeping ahead of the technology skills so our graduates are highly competitive in the job market,” Strait said.

She said they determined they needed to have a specific degree related to juvenile justice.

“Those individuals that wanted to work in that system would have specialized courses just for that area,” Strait said.

Strait said there was also student demand for the justice studies degree.

“The justice studies degree is an interdisciplinary degree that takes courses from communication, from philosophy, business [and] criminal justice,” she said.

Strait said students wanting to go to law school or studying paralegal would be interested in this degree.