NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Undergraduate and graduate students at Stephen F. Austin State University will have a variety of new degree program, concentration and certification options beginning fall 2019 in areas such as construction management, social media, medical humanities, and private security and asset protection, based on action taken in Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Regents.

In the James I. Perkins College of Education, a new Bachelor of Science in construction management is planned, which will provide students with broad-based knowledge of the construction industry. Students will initially take general education courses and advance to in-depth study in planning, design, regulations, theory and methods used in the construction field.

A dance team coaching minor also was added to the college's Department of Kinesiology and Health Science to prepare students to coach dance and spirit teams in high school and college.

The College of Liberal and Applied Arts received board approval to offer a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in medical humanities. The program will cater to students seeking to enter public heath professions, medical and patent law, health care policy, patient advocacy, pharmaceutical sales and management, and health care counseling.

The college's Department of Mass Communication was approved to begin offering a new concentration in social media. The program will offer both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science options.

"Social media has become a prevalent communication tool," said Dr. Steve Bullard, SFA provost and vice president for academic affairs. "It incorporates the use of video, photography, writing and marketing skills. It is important that mass communication students effectively understand how to use these applications to successfully generate content that will appeal to a wide range of audiences and help them in their careers."

In the Department of Psychology, students taking courses in the existing psychology major will be able to do so online this fall via Zoom, a video-conferencing software program.

Three undergraduate certificate programs also were approved within the college: private security and asset protection, applied ethics, and women's gender studies. Minors in private security and asset protection and legal studies also were added to the curriculum.

In the College of Sciences and Mathematics, the board voted to update the geoscience concentration in geology to incorporate more mentored undergraduate research.

At the graduate level, a new Master of Arts in national security within the Department of Government was approved by regents. This program will help fill an urgent need for more experts in national intelligence and security. This degree will comprise two stackable certificates, one in intelligence studies and the other in homeland security and will be delivered entirely online.

Additionally, four graduate certificate programs also were approved: advanced English pedagogy, nonprofit management, digital humanities and teaching college psychology.

In other business, regents approved a new project in the north end zone of Homer Bryce Stadium that will offer fans an exciting end zone experience. Repurposed shipping containers - complete with indoor and outdoor rooftop seating, a TV and grill - will provide a way for fans to enjoy sporting events in a relaxed, spirited atmosphere.

"We believe in creating a robust fan experience to engage the community and foster a unique culture among fans," said Ryan Ivey, SFA director of athletics. "We plan to purchase up to five units, and fans and donors will have the opportunity to lease the units by the season."

As the university prepares to move forward with the construction of a new basketball practice facility, the board approved utility easement agreements with Oncor Electric and Centerpoint Energy to reroute electrical and gas lines near the intersection of University Drive and East College Street.

The construction of two student parking lots on the south side of campus also was approved. Two existing houses will be demolished to accommodate the new lots, and construction will begin this summer.

SFA began a pilot printing program in fall 2018 by offering Wepa printing kiosks in select locations on campus to provide convenient printing options for students. Regents voted Tuesday to extend the program across campus by adding 15 kiosks to the 10 already in use. The board also approved the purchase of a new climate-controlled transportation truck for marching band equipment.

A contract with Watermark Insight, a LiveText hosting service, was approved for three years. Thousands of students use LiveText to complete assignments, and the James I. Perkins College of Education's Office of Assessment and Accountability extensively utilizes this service for data collection, creating reports and program assessments to maintain 67 program accreditations.

During the Tuesday meeting, the board also approved:

  • renewal of its contract with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers for five years
  • the 2019-20 marketing campaign contract
  • a summer budget of about $3.4 million for fiscal year 2018-19
  • policy revisions, curriculum changes, and minutes from the January, February and April meetings
  • changes in course fees that resulted in the deletion of $110 of summer course fees in secondary education and educational leadership, and business communication and legal studies
  • and ratifying $366,604 in additional grant awards allocable to fiscal year 2019.

Regents acknowledged the receipt of the audit services report and heard reports from the Nacogdoches-SFA Joint Economic Development Committee and from Erma Brecht-Nieto, SFA's executive director of enrollment management.

The board also heard updates from Interim President Dr. Steve Westbrook, the Faculty Senate and Student Government Association.