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Feb. 18, 2009

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LA CROSSE, Wis. – New undergraduate majors, a unique graduate-level option, certificate programs, and a partnership with the Mayo Clinic are programs that will be offered this fall at Viterbo in what the university calls one of the largest introductions of new curricula in its history.

According to Viterbo President Rick Artman, the new offerings are part of the 2008–2013 strategic plan to promote academic distinction, student success, and enrollment growth and access, while paying particular attention to expanding programs that fit well within the university’s mission and strengths.

Viterbo’s overall enrollment has grown steadily over the years, and the new programs, eight in all, will create even more opportunity to advance the mission of the university and meet the needs of the community, Artman said.

“I commend our academic vice president, our deans and the faculty for their initiatives in developing these programs that are in direct response to student interests and community needs,” Artman added.

“To be able to plan for these high quality programs—ones that students and the community have been telling us they really want—requires an enormous amount of collaboration and hard work and I’m very impressed,” he said.

The new initiatives include:

  • Sport Management and Leadership, a major designed to appeal to students in business seeking careers in the sport and leisure industries, will be offered by the Dahl School of Business.
  • Sport Science and Leadership, a major which will prepare students for graduate study in fields such as physical therapy, athletic training, or rehabilitation, will be offered by the School of Letters and Sciences.
  • Communication Studies: Organizational Communication, a major which will prepare students for the fields of public relations and human resources, will be offered by the School of Letters and Sciences in collaboration with the Dahl School of Business.
  • Communications Studies: Visual Communication, a major directed toward students with digital media and design interests, will be offered by the School of Letters and Sciences in collaboration with the School of Fine Arts.
  • Clinical Laboratory Science, a major involving a partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Students will study for three years at Viterbo and then be eligible for a final year in Rochester. Students in this field prepare to conduct tests to determine the presence, extent, or absence of disease and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.
  • 4+1 BBA to MBA, an option allowing students to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree in five years, saving time and tuition. The unique program incorporates the principles of ethics, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability.
  • Community Interpreting Certificate, developed by the world languages department, will prepare qualified interpreters so that non-English speakers can effectively communicate with providers in fields such as legal and health care.
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Certificate, developed by the psychology department will be directed to counseling professionals.

“Both certificates are unique to the region and will offer working adults the opportunity to build much needed skills without commuting long distances,” Glena Temple, dean of the School of Letters and Sciences said. “Likewise, we are delighted to formalize a partnership with the Mayo Clinic which will create some exciting opportunities for our students.”

Tom Knothe, dean of the Dahl School of Business indicated that the new Sport Management and Leadership program and 4+1 BBA to MBA program focus on topics of great interest to both students and employers. “These new programs will each emphasize ethical leadership, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility,” Knothe said. “Both operate in areas of enormous growth. Sport is now this country’s fifth largest industry, and many employers are expecting their managers to obtain an MBA degree.”

Currently Viterbo offers over 50 different majors, four graduate programs and a growing number of certificate programs at its La Crosse campus and at other locations throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. In January 2009, total student enrollment was reported to be 3,212.

Artman indicated that in the future, Viterbo will continue to be responsive to the interests of employers and students, as the university grows and serves traditional students and working adults, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

“Our programs, degree and non degree, will be grounded in the foundation of the university’s mission to prepare students for faithful service and ethical leadership,” he said.

 “These new programs align with the priorities of our new strategic plan, the University of Opportunity: Hope and Help. Education is the ladder of opportunity, and we are confident these innovative initiatives will enable new students to achieve their goals at Viterbo and help to serve our community in many ways,” he said.

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