Arkansas Tech University and the Arkansas Higher Education Board approved three new degrees as of January 2018. The College of Engineering will introduce a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice, and are looking into introducing master’s in Education for K-12 literacy. These degrees will become available in summer 2018.
Tech has already had several available options for bachelor’s degrees. Students could previously major in electrical engineering with a specialty in computer engineering, but there was not an official degree title for it.
Dr. Carl Greco, the interim department head and professor of electrical engineering, said, “The only difference is that when a student finishes, they’ll actually have a degree in computer engineering, and not electrical engineering with a computer engineering option.” However, this was confusing for employers, since most universities offer a regular computer engineering degree. Career opportunities are more likely for those graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, rather than a specialty in the program. As of now, classes will stay the same, as well as faculty positions.
The Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice was one in high demand. While Arkansas Tech does offer an associate’s degree in criminal justice, Dr. David Ward, the department head of behavioral sciences, said that “almost every day, I have people inquiring about [the criminal justice program].” The associate’s degree currently offered has been successful.
“We’re just building on top of the associates program, and we expect a lot of the people that do the associate’s now will move and do the full bachelor’s,” said Ward. Much like the computer engineering, students could previously major in sociology with an emphasis on criminal justice. Because of this, Tech does not expect to add to faculty until the program reaches a certain quota of 150 students majoring in the new degree. Within the first year of the degree becoming available, it is expected that 50 students will begin this program. Classes will be similar to that of the current programs available.
The master’s in K-12 Literacy does have approval from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, yet it is still waiting for complete finalization. Dr. Tim Carter, department head of curriculum and instruction, wrote in an email that “what has happened is that the ADHE has approved this program contingent upon the Arkansas Department of Education’s final approval. We are currently getting this finalized with the ADE.” This degree is for those intending to become literacy specialists in order to improve K-12’s ability to read effectively. The Arka Tech will provide additional information as it is available.