A Degree for All Seasons


By Jill Kasiewicz Caseria

Big Data, Bold Moves

Consider the number of customer loyalty cards you have in your wallet or hanging from your key ring.  here’s the one for the grocery store, your favorite coffee shop, and the pharmacy, plus the book vendor, the deli, the department store, and the shoe warehouse. It’s no surprise to know that every time we use one of those cards, not only do we get a discount, the company behind them is collecting data on us—what we bought, when, and how often. The same tactics apply to the apps we install on our smart phones and the websites we visit.

What happens with that data? Who goes through it all and figures out what to do with it? There is a rapidly growing demand for people who know how to analyze and use those millions of pieces of information to build a company’s advantage over its competition. In fact, a McKinsey & Co. study indicates that by 2018, the United States will face a shortage of 1.5 million managers who use data to shape business decisions.

So in fall 2013, the Lubin School of Business will open its doors to the first class in the new MS in Customer Intelligence and Analytics program. The program, developed by Lubin professors and alumni in the field, teaches professionals and students how to study, slice, and use what’s known as “big data”—data that’s so massive, or from so many different sources, that it is difficult to process using traditional measures.

“Using the data collected, businesses now have the opportunity to understand consumers in a very different way than before,” says Mary Long, PhD, professor of marketing and chair of the Marketing Department. “The MS in Customer Intelligence and Analytics program teaches managers how to use and apply the tools to make better business decisions.” Alumnus and Adjunct Professor Tony Branda ’88, ’89, ’91, head of consumer and small business decision management at Citibank, teaches an elective course on customer intelligence, bringing real-world experience directly to the classroom.

The MS in Customer Intelligence and Analytics is one of several brand new degrees Pace has infused into its graduate programs to provide career changers with new skills, or recent undergrads with the edge they need in an evolving job market. Take another new offering in the marketing graduate program: the MS in Social Media and Mobile Marketing. “The program blends business theory with practical application to develop a strategy to communicate to customers across media,” explains Long. “Students will also learn how to integrate social media and mobile strategies with traditional marketing strategies to meet business goals.” In a required course, Foundations of Social and Mobile Technologies, which was developed jointly by faculty in the departments of Information Systems and Marketing, students will create a mobile application for a smart phone or tablet.

Also debuting at Lubin this fall is the MS in Financial Risk Management. The program will prepare students for all aspects of risk management, in financial and non-financial organizations, as well as prepare them for the Financial Risk Manager certification offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

The idea of “risk” encompasses all areas, from portfolio risk management to operational risk (how to manage internal processes, people, and systems), reputational risk, geopolitical risk, and supplier risk, explains P.V. Viswanath, PhD, professor of finance and graduate program chair. “All kinds of companies, from banks to hedge funds to manufacturers and retail have to worry about risk. By including operational risk in the MS program, our graduates will be prepared to work in a wide range of industries, applying their skills and knowledge to managing companies’ processes and systems.”

A number of Lubin alumni have also been at the forefront in developing this new master’s degree. “In the years immediately following the start of the nation’s most recent financial crisis, a number of alumni contacted Lubin to express their concern about the lack of academic courses offered in financial risk management and voice their support for the creation of such a program at Lubin,” says Viswanath. Natalia Gershun and Jouhan Nam, both associate professors of finance, designed the first offerings in the current program. Since then, the faculty has built a core set of courses in fundamental areas of risk management. The department has also been constantly updating the curriculum; for example, two new courses—Real Estate Finance and Behavioral Finance— directly reflect the changing industry.

“It took a lot of effort to put together the program,” notes Viswanath. “And we’re pleased to see it launch.”

Brighter Futures

As Lubin responds to industry changes, the School of Education has seen a growing demand from career changers who want to bring their experience into the classroom and address the growing need for specialists.

The MST in Early Childhood Development, Learning, and Intervention prepares students to be classroom teachers, developmental specialists, home visitors, and family support professionals for children from birth to age seven. “For  our students who will work with the little ones, we want them to create exciting learning experiences as well as have them understand and address the challenges these children could face as they become school-ready,” says Associate Dean and Certification Officer for the School of Education  Annjanet Woodburn, EdD. “Early preparation and early intervention is essential for a child’s later success in elementary school, middle school, and high school.”

The new MST in Inclusive Adolescent Education addresses the increasingly complex classroom and the growing need for teachers who can provide all learners with the extra support they may need. This program prepares career changers and noneducation degree holders with the skills needed to embark on a rewarding and fulfilling career in teaching high school students, both with and without disabilities.

“People who become special educators really want to make a difference in the lives of students. With this program, we provide our educators with the knowledge and skills to prepare their students for college and career readiness,” Woodburn explains. “We want to give our students the skills they need to advocate for these children and to help them prepare for the next steps in their lives.”

“This program breaks new ground in teacher preparation,” says Leslie Soodak, PhD, School of Education professor and Co-Principal Investigator for the federal grant that helped fund the development of the program. “Traditional secondary teacher education programs prepare teachers to work in special or general education and may not focus on students’ social, behavioral, and academic development. The Inclusive Adolescent Program allows teachers to focus on all three areas.”

Pace’s First PhD Program

Making the biggest splash this fall is Pace’s first Doctor of Philosophy program, the PhD in Mental Health Counseling, the first such degree in New York State. Offered through the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, the program provides master’s-level graduates with advanced professional training in therapeutic practice, the support needed to produce research and scholarship, and in-depth scholarly training to produce highly-skilled therapeutic practitioners, researchers, supervisors, mental health counseling professors/educators, or professional representatives of the discipline. “Graduates of the program will be prepared for high-level positions in teaching, research, and leadership roles,” says Paul Griffin, PhD, associate professor of psychology and director of the PhD program.

“Doctoral-level mental health counselors bring a depth and breadth of understanding to their work with clients as practitioners, as well as to the research of new therapeutic modalities,” said Rostyslaw Robak, PhD, chair and professor of psychology on the Pleasantville Campus. “The program will enrich our graduates’ ability to work successfully with clients and to develop new ways to treat mental health conditions that have the potential to significantly advance the field of mental health counseling.”

Finalizing the PhD program required both getting approval for the mental health doctorate and a charter amendment for Pace, authorizing the University to offer this advanced degree. “Seeing it finally launch is a proud moment for the department,” says Griffin. “But it’s not just about us. It’s about Pace becoming more research-oriented while retaining its focus on teaching excellence. PhD programs provide the perfect opportunity to do both. It’s our hope that this is the tipping point—for our department and for Pace.”

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