Master's of the New Universe

Catching up on my reading backlog and came across a piece in Education Life — NYT Jan 3/10 called:  “Master’s of the New Universe”.

Being interested in the post-secondary world, I follow the proliferation of various degrees with interest.  And I harken back to a time when we succombed to pressures to convert our Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree to a Master’s degree — which we did and it was probably the correct move.

Education Life talks about the “quiet revolution” which has created a very diverse range of Master’s programs for a variety of reasons — for profit  and to respond to the shifting employment market where specialized training is required.  Factoid:  Nearly twice as many master’s degrees were awarded in 2008 than in 1980.  And a master’s degree apparently results in 20% more pay than a bachelor’s does.

Education Life ripples through 10 of these new programs (the titles themselves are fun and engaging):

1.  Narrative Medicine:  Learning to Listen

I am interested in this one because I’m reading more about more about the power of story-telling in all disciplines — and importance of people telling their own stories — whether they are client-consultant relationship — or a doctor-patient relationship.

2.  Homeland Security:  Safety First

Post 9/11 homeland security is still an emerging field.  “By 2012, nearly a quarter of all federal jobs will be related to homeland security, according to the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service…”

3.  Cybersecurity:  Wanted:  ‘Cyber Ninjas’

“Informatics” is a growing field — whether in the biological sciences or the computer sciences.  This piece points out the challenges of not finding enough young people who want to enter math and science.  This is certainly on the radar screen of our BC provincial government and our tech industries — the question remains how to encourage more students in these areas.

4. Urban Environment:  Sustainability Comes of Age

This one doesn’t surprise me — but I hadn’t heard of a doctoral program at the University of Colorado, Denver in “sustainable urban infrastructure” — sounds a bit like landscape architecture to me.   For those interested, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) lists sustainability programs available on its web site:  “The environmental movement has expanded to understand that people are at the centre of these issues – it’s not just save the trees for the trees’ sake.” — quote from Mr. Patterson — the aforementioned doctoral student.  The focus of many of these new programs is public policy — and that is a good thing — more research that hopefully can be utilized by governments for evidenced-based policy development.

5.  Sustainable Cultures:  A step beyond anthropology

Good to see recognition that sustainability isn’t just about “science science” — but also about social science.  Many of these programs are flexible — for part-timers so there are intensive residencies and then work on-line.

6.  Education Leadership:  Skills to Fix Failing Schools

The focus of President Obama on “fixing” the school system has increased the need for “…educators who are more MBA/policy-wonk than Mr. Chips”.  Stanford has a two-year joint MBA and MA in education — they have added a nine-month program to give students access to coursework with more policy and business content.

7.  Cars of the future:  Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engine Programs

This is such great news – programs that focus on electric cars and advanced batteries — Master’s of energy systems engineering.  I assume stimulated by President Obama’s interest in getting the nation off fossil fuels.

8.  Construction Management:  Building More than Resumes

Again the stimulus packages around creating jobs — often in the construction industry has created the need for more and more “managers” of large infrastructure projects.

9.  Specialized MBAs:  The Business of Zeroing In

“The percentage of business school students enrolled in specialized programs has risen about 4 percent each year since 2001” (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).   These programs tend to zero in on practical and commercial applications — as opposed to the relatively general MBA.  The article notes that investing in such specialized programs can potentially be risky — if there is a market change — e.g. tightening of real estate market.  “…but going deep instead of wide seems to fit right in with an increasingly segmented world.”  Not sure this is good — the segmented world I mean.

10.  New Media:  The Interactive Entrepreneur

Birmingham City University is now offering a master’s in social networking.  University of Southern California offers a master’s in online communities.  Lots happening in this space — probably the fastest growing area.  Wondering how university Senates are keeping up with the pace of these new ventures.

But it does makes you feel like going back to school…to shape the new universe.

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7 Responses to Master's of the New Universe

  1. Allen Taylor says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. David McPhee says:

    Moura, was interested in your comments about the ‘environmental movement’ evolving from an initial romantic, albeit at time confrontational, ‘save the tree’s’ type rational to a recognition that sustainability has to be more people focused.

    I would argue that government, private businesses and society at large have made equally fundamental changes with respect to sustainability. I was very directly involved in then MB’s dealing with a violent and obstruction protests in Clayquot Sound

    I would suggest that one should recognize that initial confrontation stimulated the balance of society fundamentally changing as well. Indeed this was led by MB, representing the corporate community and the Clayquot protest groups, representing the environmental protest leadership and subsequently the embrace of sustainability flowed to provincial government, municipal governments.

    It has now reached the stage where sustainability as practical business and governmental action now infuses everything from product branding (how green can we be) to mainstream political and governmental action (eg carbon tax and toll roads). Indeed, in the political world sustainability already has the Bush acknowledgment that the US was addicted to oil, Harper manipulating his own first election call to avoid the prospect of an Obama blow back in

    I believe that this transition started with the initial environmental of the environmental community. But the real catalyst, if I can be so bold, was at Clayquot after which sustainability became mainstream in BC. During the last provincial campaign the traditional alliance of the environmental/protest community and the left of center vote split wide open over the carbon tax. Indeed a former NDP premier came out publicly taking a position contrary to his own party saying it was time to put the planet ahead of politics.

    This fundamental change is going to endure for years to come.

    • Moura Quayle says:

      David — thank you for your great reflective comments. Yes — we have really come a long way — and wasn’t it fascinating to have the traditional alliances shift the way they did in the last election. Wonder what will happen post-Oympics with the beyond carbon opportunities?

  3. Pingback: Masters Programs

  4. SuperSonic says:

    Everything dynamic and very positively! 🙂

  5. UGG Boots says:

    I found this article useful in a paper I am writing at university. Hopefully, I get an A+ now!


    Bernice Franklin

    UGG Boots

  6. Greetings! I’m new to the site. I’ve read several comments about cooling solar panels but I haven’t seen anything about this: Will spraying the hot surface of solar panel glass with cool water break the glass? I am concerned about the sudden temperature change introducing stress to the glass surf.

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