Colleges Develop New Majors for Today's Jobs

By T. J. Pignataro | The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY), January 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

Colleges Develop New Majors for Today's Jobs


T. J. Pignataro, The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY)


Making students marketable in today's scarce job market isn't easy.

But, area private colleges and universities are facing that challenge head-on and finding creative ways to tailor their curricular offerings with innovative programs aimed squarely at preparing both undergraduate and graduate students with the tools they need to succeed.

Emerging information technology, health care, communications, modern languages and business are a few of the burgeoning fields where local academia is hoping to lure in prospective students with brand new course offerings and, often, hands-on laboratory study.

Daemen College administrators are adapting majors in order "to respond to the demand of the future workplace." Daemen is positioning itself at the forefront of emerging technology.

The college, for instance, launched its new animation program to adapt to "a highly evolving technological industry" and offers students instruction in both 2D and 3D animation for film, television, gaming and advertising as well as visual applications for science, medicine and research.

"Daemen College is preparing students for success in the work place by adapting majors that will be in high demand," said Patricia Brown, Daemen's vice president for enrollment management.

It's also adapting various majors "to respond to the demand of the future workplace."

Business and accounting students are receiving instruction in the exploding field of data mining, which will help students get trained for occupations in fraud detection, risk management and criminal justice.

Geriatric health, one of the nation's fastest growing sectors, is a main focus of the college's health programs.

Daemen's new Global and Local Sustainability major is green- focused on the interconnections between the environment, the economy and society.

"Employers today want colleges to place more emphasis on essential learning outcomes," Brown said. "Skills such as critical thinking, integrated learning, and personal and social responsibility are all part of the Daemen College core curriculum."

College officials say, in order to make course scheduling more flexible for its students, it is also broadening its availability of online and hybrid courses.

"We are constantly looking at new ways to communicate with students," said Linda Koller, Daemen's director of marketing.

Not only does it employ various social media, such as Facebook, Twitter as well as private networking sites and virtual open houses, to support recruitment, the college also runs online chat sessions to answer questions from prospective students and parents.

At Canisius College, there's also plenty happening under Old Main's golden dome in the 2000 block of Main Street. The school's footprint has expanded dramatically in recent years. Now, officials are focused on making Canisius the region's "pre-eminent" private school.

"We call it a 'transformational education,' " said Richard A. Wall, the school's interim vice president for academic affairs. "It's transforms [students] into adults that will contribute in society."

The school focuses its mission on producing "ethical and moral human beings" who not only reach their personal career goals but make a difference to the world.

Wall said the school has listened to real-world people when devising its curriculum.

"You need to do market research," he said. "You need to get out into the community and find out from professionals and leaders of the community. What are the needs there?"

Canisius has fine-tuned both its undergraduate and graduate programs.

At the graduate level, Canisius is developing new programs specifically tailored to careers in the areas of Education, Professional Studies and Business.

Under Professional Studies, there are master's degree programs with specialized certificates in health fields. …

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