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Marshall OKs new master’s program

December 14, 2018

HUNTINGTON — The Marshall University Board of Governors on Thursday unanimously approved the creation of a new master’s of cybersecurity degree program within the College of Information Technology and Engineering.

Members gathered at the regular meeting in the Shawkey Room at the Memorial Student Center learned the course will be the first master’s level cybersecurity degree program in West Virginia. It requires 30 credit hours of graduate work, with a choice of concentration in network security, application security or security management. The program would create new pathways for students in existing bachelor’s degree programs across three colleges, from computer science to criminal justice.

Officials said the new program is scheduled to begin in the spring and they hope to enroll 70 students and graduate 28 students in the program’s fifth year.

The program is projected to have new net revenues of more than $2 million in its first five years combined, with a projected net revenue of $657,315 in the fifth year alone. In its first two years, no new faculty lines, major funding or other resources are needed to establish the program, officials reported. Program and lab fees will be sufficient to cover additional operating budget needs.

In the third year, the addition of a tenure-track faculty line is anticipated. In the same year, the purchase of specialized equipment estimated at $250,000 will be covered by gross revenue, according to the report.

Jaime Taylor, the university’s vice president and provost, gave an informational item update that included announcing that five members of Marshall’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition team finished 10th out of a total of 368 teams in the fall 2018 National Cyber League (NCL) competition.

“What’s really exciting about this is that the competition is just the beginning,” Taylor said. “NCL participants are also able to secure job interviews by adding NCL Scouting Report information to their resumes. Employers can quickly identify top-notch talent, and our students here at Marshall are clearly rising to the top.”

In addition to other student achievements and plans, Taylor reported that students in a graduate literature seminar created two “escape rooms” in Corbly Hall base on two epic adventures.

“After researching escape room design and meeting with Steve and Debbie Adkins, owners of The Lost Escape Room in downtown Huntington, students worked in two teams to translate the ancient texts into immersive, live-action adventures, showcasing a new form of narrative that has become a nationwide entertainment phenomenon. So, in addition to pursuing careers in teaching, writing and editing, these students are applying their storytelling and creative expertise to entrepreneurial ventures.”

Also Thursday, new board members William A. Smith Sr., Geoffrey S. Sheils and H. Toney Stroud, all of Cabell County, were sworn in to serve three-year terms ending June 30, 2022.

Smith, a retired Cabell County Schools superintendent, will succeed Oshel Craigo. Sheils, who is with Huntington, WesBanco Inc., will replace Michael Sellards, and Stroud, an attorney with BrickStreet Insurance, will succeed Joseph McDonie.

“I want to thank all of our board members for their support of me and their support of Marshall,” Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert said. “I think we have a great new set of board members.”

Gilbert also told board members that, starting in February, the university will start a review all of its policies.

“Because we have so many policies, it is going to take us all the way through October of next year to get these done,” he said.

Gilbert said the board of governors will review the policies, along with other Marshall officials and their teams.

“There might not be any revisions necessary,” he said. “If there are any revisions, those would be pointed out for review. There are about 25 policies per meeting to go through. After the board reviews them, we will send them to the Faculty Senate and they will have a chance to review them as well. After that we will consider the process completed and we will then make a notation on that policy that will say when it was reviewed so we will have a record of when the policy was last reviewed.”

Gilbert added that Marshall doesn’t currently have a policy review policy.

“This is new, so the policy reviews will begin at our next meeting,” he said. “Once this policy review project is completed, we can talk about a review cycle for the future. Since we haven’t reviewed them in a long time, we wanted to go through all of them.”

Other items reported at the meeting included:

Beer sale commissions from Joan C. Edwards Stadium in 2018 were $62,024.72, a 46.7 percent increase over the 2017 amount of $42,281. Commissions are being used to pay for equipment and concourse expansion advanced from Sodexo. The original amount advanced was $313,669, and the balance now is approximately $208,518.The insurance claim for the canceled Marshall football game with South Carolina is in process and will include the scheduled game with Virginia Tech. Marshall expects to receive the projected net amount of $1.2 million after the process is completed.WMUL Radio placed in 23 of 29 categories in the International Competition for Marketing and Communication Professionals. Six were platinum first-place awards.Marshall Thunder has finalized plans to travel to London to perform at the 2020 London New Year’s Day Parade, and the Chamber Choir will appear in central Europe in March 2020.Marshall’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program made The Princeton Review for the first time in its “Best Business Schools of 2019.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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