The menu at Ohio Wesleyan’s all-you-can-think academic buffet just got bigger.

Faculty members recently approved new majors in communication, data analytics, Middle Eastern studies, nutrition, and social justice. Classes for the offerings will begin in fall 2017.

The communication major will be part of OWU’s newly renamed Department of Journalism and Communication. The major was created to “blend the intellectual breadth of a liberal arts education with a deep understanding of communication strategy and experience in digital media production,” Provost Chuck Stinemetz says. Communication majors will choose from three concentrations: media production studies; organizational, interpersonal, and group communication; or strategic corporate communication. In addition to their core courses, communication majors also will be able to focus on specific fields, such as political, health, or business communication, Stinemetz says, allowing them to pursue targeted interests and career goals.

Professor Dale J. Brugh, OWU’s associate dean for innovation, says the nutrition and data analytics majors also will provide students with practical skills in the context of the liberal arts. “The major in data analytics will help students gain the skills necessary to process large data sets, see trends, and make insights that drive decision-making,” Brugh says, noting that few liberal arts institutions offer data analytics.

“The major is grounded in the liberal arts with emphasis on the social, ethical, and cultural impact of big data and its use,” he says. “This combination of technical skill and critical thinking will position OWU graduates to take advantage of the growing number of data analytics jobs in fields such as finance, marketing, insurance, and health care.”

The nutrition major, Brugh says, “focuses on the relationship between food, nutrients, and human health. It addresses student interest in careers such as health education, community health, food justice, food advocacy, food policy, food industry work, and dietetics.”

In addition, he says, the major also “complements other majors for those students contemplating advanced study in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician’s assistant.”

Faculty members last year approved a new major in business administration, which began enrolling students this fall. The major offers concentrations in both management and marketing. It was already the third-most-popular major among incoming first-year students.

The new majors are part of a plan approved by the Board of Trustees to enroll 2,020 students by 2020 through various initiatives, including enhancing academic offerings. Read more about 2020 by 2020.

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