Mercer foregoes undergraduate tuition hike, adds six new degree programs

Archived photo from Nov. 14, 2018. A student registers for classes.

Adayah Glymph

Archived photo from Nov. 14, 2018. A student registers for classes.

Tuition will not increase for Macon undergraduates, students enrolled in the M.D. program in the School of Medicine or students at the College of Nursing for the 2020-2021 year, the Executive Committee of Mercer University’s Board of Trustees announced June 17. This is the first time in eight years that Mercer has not increased tuition for undergraduates by 2-2.5%.

Tuition at the School of Law will increase by 2%, and “increases for most other programs across the University fall below 3% and are below market,” according to the release.

“During these challenging economic times, I recommended to the Board that we forego tuition increases for our Macon undergraduate students,” said Mercer President Bill Underwood. “We also constrained tuition increases in other programs to recognize the sacrifices many of our students and families are making to pursue their educational goals at Mercer.”

The Executive Committee also adopted a record $269.2 million budget for the 2021 fiscal year as well as $30 million in federally-funded research.

The Board of Trustees approved six new degree programs across campus. These include a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a Master of Science in cybersecurity and a Master of Science in civil engineering in the School of Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology in the College of Health Professions and a Master of Science in health outcomes at the College of Pharmacy.

Cybersecurity (undergraduate)

The cybersecurity majors will build on existing courses within the information sciences and technology and computer science programs, and 13 new courses will be added over the next three to four years, according to a press announcement released June 22.

Bachelor of Science majors can choose a specialization in either secure software development or cybersecurity operations. According to a jobs report by Cybersecurity Ventures that was cited in the release, 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions will open across the world by 2021.

Eniye Tebekaemi, assistant professor of computer science, will advise the program. It will begin fall 2020.

Cybersecurity (graduate)

The Master of Science in cybersecurity will be available fall 2021 and will blend existing bachelor’s and master’s programs in computer, electrical, and software engineering. Students can pursue areas of study including cybersecurity for business, cybersecurity operations, embedded computer sciences, and software security.

Sinjae Hyun, professor of biomedical engineering and director of graduate programs, will lead the program.

Civil Engineering

The Master of Science in civil engineering will build on existing graduate programs in environmental and mechanism engineering as well as technical management. The program provides the 30 hours of graduate coursework that is often expected of those hoping to become licensed professional engineers, according to the release.

The program was added because to reflect Bureau of Labor Statistics projections that employment for civil engineers will grow by 6% through 2028.

Hyun will also advise this program. It will begin fall 2020.

Kinesiology

Mercer will bring new faculty to the Macon campus with backgrounds including exercise physiology, exercise science, biomechanics and kinesiology in order to begin offering the program in fall 2021. The Bachelor of Science will contain accelerated tracks for students who plan to pursue physical therapy, physician assistant, athletic training and public health graduate and professional programs at Mercer.

Recent data indicates stronger-than-average projected employer demands for kinesiology graduates, according to the release.

College of Health Professions Dean and Professor Lisa Lundquist will serve as the advisor for the program.

Health Outcomes

The College of Pharmacy will offer the Master of Science in health outcomes as a fully online program beginning fall 2021. It is meant to prepare students for health economics and outcomes research, growing fields that involve “optimizing patient care delivery and clinical decision-making, as well as influencing policy discussions related to health care reimbursements and priorities,” according to the release.

Students can choose a pharmacoeconomic modeling concentration or health outcomes research concentration with thesis and non-thesis options available.

Graduates will be prepared for jobs in biostatistics, epidemiology, research methods, health economics and the health care delivery system.

Kathryn Momary, vice chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, will advise the program.

While creating new programs, Mercer eliminated several others “due to low enrollments,” according to the press release. The school will no longer offer the Bachelor of Arts and undergraduate minor in German or the certificate in leadership and ethics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The School of Law will eliminate the Master of Laws and Master of Comparative Jurisprudence, and the School of Theology will cancel the post-baccalaureate certificate in faith-based social enterprise.

 

This article was updated June 22 to include additional information about the cybersecurity, civil engineering, kinesiology and health outcomes degree programs.