STEM focus
This summer, GCU reorganized its College
of Arts and Sciences into two colleges to
separate liberal arts programs from science
programs. Here’s how academic programs
were divided between the new colleges:
Dr. Mark Wooden
Newest programs:
Bachelor of science
degrees in computer science and information
technology. Emphases include business
entrepreneurship, big data analytics, health
IT, technology innovation and game and
simulation development.
Other programs:
Biology pre-med, pre-
physical therapy, pre-physician assistant,
pre-pharmacy, exercise science and forensic
Associate dean:
Dr. Sherman Elliott
Newest programs:
Bachelor of arts in history,
with emphases in history for secondary
education and public history
Other programs:
counseling, English literature, justice studies,
psychology and sociology
New tech degrees
GCU’s focus is not only on cultivating
computer systems analysts, database
managers, IT security specialists and software
engineers — the goal is to link those students
to other academic areas into which their
niche tech expertise might overlap.
The computer science program
offers emphases in game and simulation
development, big data and analytics, and
business entrepreneurship. IT majors will
have the chance to specialize in business
entrepreneurship, health IT and technology
Entrepreneurship classes will be taught by
College of Business professors. Tech students
interested in building medical technology
will have opportunities to interface with
the College of Nursing and Health Care
GCU Provost Hank Radda said tech
students will be trained in the same spirit of
Christian leadership as any undergraduate
student, through the same character-
development principles the University has
encouraged for decades.
As those students team up on projects,
Radda said, their spirit will shine through.
“I imagine the projects our students take
on will make a difference for humanity,”
Radda said. “The projects they select will
likely address issues they’re passionate about.
They might include meaningful health care
innovations, or software programs and
computer simulations, to help create a better
quality of life for people.”
Nearly 70 students were accepted into the
new tech programs and will begin taking
their freshman courses this fall. Science
faculty members want those students to begin
working on technology projects as soon as
their sophomore years.
Projects will take shape in a course titled
Team Innovation Experience, which is
designed to simulate a real-world project-
management model to teach students about
the various components of developing
technology solutions. Also, by their senior
years in 2018, each student in the first wave
of computer science and IT will complete a
capstone project.
Brinkster, for example, might have been
developed as a classroom project, rather than
a side project, had GCU offered those tech
programs in the mid-’90s. But like floppy
disks, MS-DOS and Atari, the recent past is
ancient history.
Brian Mueller, GCU’s president and
CEO, envisions a future in which the
University is not only sending out worship
leaders who do meaningful work in God’s
kingdom, but also engineers, IT specialists
and business leaders.
“We want to create a calling and a theology
of work that highlights the distinctiveness of
our students across many vocations,” Mueller
said. “There is a huge demand for students
who excel in STEM-related areas, and our
graduates in those fields will be sought after
because of the servant leadership, integrity
and strong Christian values they bring into
the workplace.”
Cultivating ‘STEM’ pros
Over the last two years, GCU has taken an
aggressive approach to address Arizona’s
deficiencies in grooming STEM-competent
students to fill positions in fast-growing tech
sectors of the economy.
University leaders project that 70 percent
of students on the main campus will be
studying in programs related to science,
technology, engineering and mathematics
by 2020.
In addition to computer science and IT
Dr. MarkWooden (left) and Dr. Sherman Elliott stand at the
building where science labs and faculty offices are housed,
with GCU’s newest classroom building in the background.
The new building has offices for humanities faculty.
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