STEM jobs are needed now more than ever. According to www.stemcareer.com, the United States’ demand for both scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate of all other occupations. The benefits for being in STEM programs are high as well. The top five highest paid majors all deal with the engineering field, the highest being petroleum engineering with a starting salary of $102,300.
As a newly developed university, FGCU is accommodating to these growing STEM needs. In addition to the planning and design of a new academic building that will serve as a STEM lab, the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering will be introducing a new degree program that will contribute to FGCU’s growing STEM program, construction management, which will be brought about with the assistance of the Lutgert College of Business.
“The construction management effort is being lead by the college of engineering,” Associate Dean of LCOB Vivek Bhargava said. “We are providing a supporting role.”
In addition to a construction management degree, LCOB will soon be revealing two new majors for enrolled business students — supply chain management and data analytics and informatics.
“There is a high demand for data analytics, supply and chain management and construction management in Southwest Florida in the state and nationally,” Bhargava said. “The students going through these programs will be highly employable.”
The process of developing new degree programs is a lengthy one and includes the help of the Florida Board of Governors.
“The state of Florida Board of Governors has a specific process that must be followed,” Bhargava said. “Dr. Cathy Duff at FGCU works with faculty and leadership in the colleges to complete all steps of the process. It includes activities such as determining the demand for the program, developing the curriculum, getting funding as well as the application process to the state.”
Academic Affairs is also involved in the process, along with departmental faculty from the colleges.
“Additionally, input is sought from the business community and students,” Bhargava said.
These new programs will lead to the colleges employing more professors, particularly with the LCOB. Two and half additional faculty lines will be needed for both supply chain management and data analytics and informatics.
“LCOB is in the process of developing these programs and will be ready to deliver them when they are approved and funding is in place,” Bhargava said. “There is an LBR in the legislature and if it is approved and things move as desired the programs could be offered as early as fall 2018.”
An associate professor of business law at Lutgert, Daniel Fernandez believes that both a construction management major would benefit students enrolled in Whitaker and LCOB.
“As an attorney some of my clients were developers,” Fernandez said. “Construction management would be a good fit and quite helpful for students interested in real estate development. And, depending on the course content, it may be a good complement with operations management.”