Board Approves New Degrees in Cybersecurity

Arkansas Tech University plans to offer Bachelor of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees in cybersecurity following approval of program proposals by the ATU Board of Trustees on Wednesday.

Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman, vice president for academic affairs, wrote in a memorandum presented to trustees that the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Computer and Information Science developed the programs “in response to the unprecedented rise in cyber threats nationwide.”

Abdelrahman went on to write that the baccalaureate program will prepare students “to understand how a threat occurs, how to prevent a threat and how to recover from a threat,” while the associate program is “designed to prepare a student to support the cybersecurity professional in both prevention and recovery from a threat.”

If approved by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the programs would become active in August 2017.

In another academic programming decision on Wednesday, the board approved a letter of notification stating the university’s intention to begin offering its Master of Science in Nursing degree 100 percent online beginning in August 2017. The measure applies to both the nursing administration and emergency management concentrations within the degree.

The ATU Board of Trustees also gave the following approvals during its meeting:

*meal plan rates for 2017-18, including an average cost of $14.53 per day for the unlimited meal plan;

*an amendment to the urban planning contract with Miller Boskus Lack and a transfer of $60,000 from the unexpended plant fund to cover the contract’s amended cost;

*an adjustment to the function of the technology prioritization committee and a change of the group’s name to the technology prioritization and software review committee;

*and a reduction in semester credit hours for the Certificate of Proficiency in industrial control systems from 16 semester hours to 15 to allow necessary academic changes and to provide flexibility to multiple post-secondary and secondary sites.

In personnel-related matters, the board approved hiring the following full-time faculty members:

*Dr. Peng Huang, associate professor of finance and economics, for the spring 2017 semester; Deidre Huey, workforce education faculty in occupational therapy assistant, for the spring 2017 semester; Stacy McKisick, visiting instructor of rehabilitation science, for the spring 2017 semester; Dr. Ekong Peters, assistant professor of emergency management, for the 2017-18 academic year; and Bethany Swindell, visiting instructor of emergency management, for the spring 2017 semester.

Dr. Patricia Buford had the interim tag removed from her assignment as associate dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She will also continue in her role as professor of electrical engineering.

Trustees appointed Dr. Gina Kraft, assistant professor of health and physical education, as director of the Master of Science degree program in strength and conditioning studies.

Lynda Lloyd was hired in the role of assistant to the president. She will begin her duties on Feb. 20, 2017.

The board accepted the resignations of the following employees:

*Elizabeth Davis-Means, director of university testing and disability services, effective Dec. 16, 2016; and Kao Vang, target school liaison in the ATU Upward Bound Math and Science program, effective Jan. 6, 2017.

Two members of Arkansas Tech faculty — Dr. Theresa Herrick and Gary Morris — notified trustees of their intention to retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

Herrick, professor of recreation and park administration, will retire effective May 31, 2017, after 32 years on the Tech faculty. Morris, a member of the faculty since 2002 in his roles as instructor of music and director of choirs, will retire effective May 13, 2017.