New physics, digital forensics programs approved by BGSU Faculty Senate


BG Independent News

Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate Tuesday approved two new academic programs.

Both the Bachelor of Arts in physics and then new computer science specialization in digital forensics passed with minimal “no” votes.

John Laird, who chairs the Department of Physics and Astronomy, explained that some students now enroll as bachelor of science physics majors, but lack the calculus needed to start their physics courses. That delays their completion of their degree requirements because they first need to get that grounding in calculus.

The new bachelor of arts program would give those students another avenue.

The existing  bachelor of science route, he said, is geared for students who are planning to go on to graduate school. But many physics majors are being hired with bachelor’s degrees, Laird said. This new major would serve their needs.

Later he explained that physics majors are in demand in a range of fields. They tend to be good problem solvers and have strong backgrounds in math and use of technology.

Steven Green, an assistant professor in computer science, also cited a demand for students trained in digital forensics.

This is a subset of cyber security, which has a much broader focus.

DigItal forensics, he said, is concerned with working in law enforcement to gather evidence after a crime is committed. Those in the field access information from devices and make sure the chain of evidence is maintained. 

A digital forensics lab has just been renovated, and the department already has two faculty members who specialize in the field.

The programs now must be approved by the university trustees, and then the state.

In his remarks to the senate, President Rodney Rogers spoke of what promises to be a major expansion of BGSU’s curriculum, the merger with Mercy College.

The university and Mercy Health have signed a letter of intent for the operations of the nursing college to be transferred to BGSU, and BGSU trustees gave the administration the authority to pursue the deal this Friday.

Rogers said Mercy College complements BGSU. It gives university undergraduate and graduate nursing programs as well as programs other health specialties. Mercy College also works extensively with post-traditional students, while BGSU remains an institution with mostly traditionally aged students.

Mercy will provide the university with an array of programs aimed at helping meet the “critical need for nurses and other health professionals.”

Rogers said the university is doing its due diligence on the merger with a sense of urgency.

This, he said, means that he’s unable to answer the many questions that have been posed by faculty and others.

Such a transfer, he said, has never happened in Ohio, though there have been some similar actions nationally including the merger of a Catholic-affiliated nursing college with a public university.

The process is expected to as long as four years, which is when the university’s current arrangement with the University of Toledo ends.