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TMCNet:  Loras to offer STEM degree [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

[December 21, 2013]

Loras to offer STEM degree [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) if you go Educators who would like to learn more about Loras College's new education STEM master's program can call Mike Friend, graduate and transfer recruitment coordinator at Loras, at 563-588- 7166. new business analytics program Loras College will offer a new undergraduate program in business analytics starting fall 2014. The program will incorporate multiple disciplines within the liberal arts framework Loras already delivers. These courses include mathematics, computer science, finance, marketing and management. This curriculum will further develop analytics specific courses designed to look at mission-driven analytics, beyond the common focus of predicting consumer behavior or making supply chains more efficient. Students in the program will experience business analytics within a Catholic Social Teaching context. "Graduates of the business analytics program at Loras should be very well- positioned to have an impact on all types of organizations. They will have the tactical skills in data science, the analytical skills of methods and the broader viewpoint of how analytics can be used to benefit all those around them," said Dan Conway, Ph.D., associate professor of business analytics at Loras, in a news release. "This degree should develop and improve an individual's confidence to have an immediate impact on any organization that requires, or needs to use, data-driven decisions. Prime examples include medical care, manufacturing and logistics, social business and financial service companies."Loras College will venture into new science, technology, engineering and math territory this summer when it launches an education STEM master's program.

"We're definitely taking an integrated approach to STEM," said Becky Monhardt, Ph.D., associate professor of education and chairwoman of the Division of Education at Loras.

The program is primarily for elementary, middle and high school teachers who want to improve STEM content knowledge and pedagogical skills to help their students meet various standards. Informal educators, those with a bachelor's degree who work in outreach programs with teachers and/or students, also may enroll in the new program.

With an emphasis on integration, the program will use real- world, place-based problems and emphasize interdisciplinary instruction and learning.

Monhardt said she recognizes the challenges in schools today for teachers to collaborate across disciplines, but she also sees the importance of that collaboration.

Robert Keller, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics and chairman of the Division of Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science at Loras, described the programs as a renaissance.

The new program, he said, will take teachers back to a time when people used the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math to overcome obstacles. In this instance, the program will educate teachers on how to best incorporate STEM lessons that cover a variety of disciplines into lessons for their students to complete.

"We have the capacity to deliver such a program here," Monhardt said.

The two-year program will begin with face-to-face summer components. However, the program will mostly be delivered through online courses during the regular academic terms by interdisciplinary faculty teams. Keller said target enrollment for the first class this summer is 12 to 20 individuals.

Some of the motivation for the program comes from the college's summer Communities of Exemplary Practice program, a seven-day workshop about the best practices in integrating sciences and math with appropriate technology for middle school teachers. The professional development program is funded by Title II grants.

Officials at Loras reiterated that the new program reflects efforts made at the national level and by the state of Iowa to encourage students to consider careers in STEM and expand access to such careers by improving STEM education.

According to Monhardt and Keller, the new program with its focus on integration is the first of its kind in Iowa.

"It's pretty darn unique," Keller said.

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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