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A matter of degrees: OSU-Cascades set to launch political science, economics programs this fall

(Update: Adding video, comment from university interim vice president)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- You may be surprised to learn of two degree programs not currently offered at OSU-Cascades -- but not for long.

Interim Vice President Andrew Ketsdever told NewsChannel 21 Monday of the programs; “They are already well-established degree programs throughout the country.”

He was talking about political science and economics.

Those are the two degree programs just approved by the Oregon State Board of Trustees to become the 21st and 22nd majors offered at the school’s Bend campus.

“We’ve seen growth in both of those areas in the Pacific Northwest,” Ketsdever said. “New job growth is somewhere between 5 and 8 percent for both of those degrees.”

The university already offers political science as a minor, and Ketsdever said the new degrees will help round out the university’s College of Liberal Arts.

The recent job growth in those fields made it more feasible for the degrees.

“We can not just support students with jobs after they graduate, but we can support them with internships while they are in school,” Ketsdever said.

But the job market wasn’t the only factor. The university collected data on what degrees are in demand.

“That demand is not just on the employer side of jobs, but also on the student side, in what students are interested in taking,” Ketsdever said.

The data showed there could be lots of interest from students in the programs.

“We could see enrollment impacts of upwards of 6 to 8 percent in the near term,” Ketsdever said.

The programs are slated sto begin next fall.

There are still a couple steps before the degrees have full approval, but he's confident they will be ready to go in the fall.

Here's the release from Oregon State:

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon State University–Cascades announced Monday it will offer new bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science, beginning this fall.

The two new degree programs were approved by the OSU Board of Trustees on Friday.

“The new degree programs in economics and political science will attract students seeking careers in business and finance, public policy and government, and law and help them develop the critical skills needed to address some of society’s biggest challenges” said Interim Vice President Andrew Ketsdever.

The new majors will leverage courses already offered at OSU-Cascades, as well as faculty expertise. Students will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in either major. 

The economics degree curriculum includes courses in economic theory, micro and macroeconomics, public policy, as well as subjects that build skills in oral and written communication, and in quantitative analysis. Students will select from specialized options within the program including general economics; law, economics and policy; managerial economics; and mathematical economics.

In the political science program, students will take foundational courses in U.S. government and politics, international relations and political thought, as well as persuasive writing and speaking. They will also discuss and debate current world events. Program options in political science include environmental and energy politics; international affairs; and law and politics.

OSU-Cascades also offers a minor in political science.

Students studying in these new degree programs will be encouraged to pursue internship, undergraduate research and other educational opportunities beyond the classroom, including with organizations based in Central Oregon.

The degrees are offered through OSU’s College of Liberal arts. Other degree programs at OSU-Cascades offered through the College of Liberal Arts include American studies; art; arts, media and technology, liberal studies, psychology and social science.

Implementation of the new degree programs are pending support by the Oregon public universities’ provost council and the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

About OSU-Cascades:  Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to Central Oregon, the fastest growing region in the state. Surrounded by 2.5 million acres of mountains and high desert, OSU-Cascades is a top-tier research university where small classes accelerate faculty-student mentoring. Degree programs meet industry and economic needs in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, and arts and sciences, and prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

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