CSP is continuing our series of feature articles to showcase each of the six colleges that will make up CSP’s realigned structure designed to foster strength and growth. We launched this series with a focus on the College of Kinesiology. Today, we continue this story with a focus on the College of Business & Technology.
Installment 2: College of Business & Technology
As with each of the six colleges that comprise CSP moving forward, the College of Business & Technology will exist on a healthy foundation that blends traditional undergraduate, non-traditional (online) undergrad, and graduate programming.
College Leadership: Mychal Thom, Dean of the College of Business & Technology
- Joined CSP in 2021
- M.S., Biological Sciences, Oakland University
- B.S., Biology, Oakland University
Mychal Thom joined CSP last year following nearly two decades of exceptional experience in Lutheran-based education organizations. Joining our team in August of last year as our Chief Diversity Officer, Mychal also served as Associate Dean for Academic Innovation. His leadership style, combined with a focus on innovative academic delivery, made him an ideal choice to lead the new College of Business & Technology moving forward. He will continue to serve as Chief Diversity Officer alongside his new role as Dean of the College of Business & Technology.
In a short amount of time, Mychal has become a fixture within CSP and he has forged strong relationships with students, faculty, campus organizations, and the senior leadership team.
CSP CBT – Academic Programs:
The College of Business & Technology will combine existing fields of study that prepare students for successful careers in a wide range of businesses and organizations. With slight modifications to degree program alignment, the new College of Business & Technology structure provides optimal pathways for students to gain the academics, combined with leadership development, needed to meet the next-generation demands in the marketplace.
Degree programs will set students up well for careers in business management, business analytics, strategic communications and marketing, computer science and information management systems, and executive leadership.
Specifically, programs range from traditional and online B.A. and B.S. degrees to clearly defined, career-relevant graduate programs that support career advancement in multiple fields.
The various B.A., B.B.A., and B.S. degree programs will include:
- Business Management
- Computer Science
- Digital Marketing
- Human Resource Management
- International Business
- Information Systems
- Information Technology in Management
- Management & Leadership
- Web Design & Development
In addition, the College of Business & Technology will offer the following graduate degree tracks:
- MBA – Business Administration
- MBA – Health Care Management emphasis
- M.A. Strategic Communication Management
- M.A. Management & Leadership
- M.A. Human Resource Management
- M.S. Information Technology in Management
- M.S. Data Analytics
- M.S. Cybersecurity
The most notable change with this new alignment – the Communications Department moves to the College of Business & Technology from the College of Humanities, where it has existed for several years.
Challenges (5-10 years)
Business and technology-related degree programs represent one of the most active areas of competition among higher education institutions. In the Twin Cities alone, there are a number of highly respected programs for these fields at the University of St. Thomas, the U of M College of Liberal Arts and the Carlson School of Management, Hamline, and St. Catherine’s to name a few. In addition, business degree programs are offered virtually from a number of mega online universities.
The competitive field will require all institutions to adapt to address the challenges businesses and organizations face as the world is transforming rapidly – some of which can be attributed to permanent business and behavioral changes brought on by the pandemic.
“The speed of change we all face is extraordinary and CSP is well positioned to prepare our students for a world not yet lived in,” noted Mychal Thom. “The new alignment of career-relevant programs with the College of Business & Technology will empower our faculty to be creative and to drill down into the very issues that will be most important for students to know as they prepare to lead the next generation of business and tech.”
Opportunities (5-10 years)
Larger traditional universities will likely face significant challenges pivoting quickly to adapt to changes in the business landscape and evolving demands on organizations of all sizes. Conversely, CSP is extremely well positioned to adapt to rapidly evolving needs of today’s businesses, partially due to our unique position in the market.
The College of Business & Technology is set up to be an innovative organization that can react quickly – an environment in which concepts can be created, tested, and launched in rapid succession. In addition, the various degree programs are designed to incorporate deep critical thinking skills. The goal is to empower students to be nimble and responsive leaders in a dramatically different workforce of tomorrow.
In addition, CSP will continue to expand our partnerships and relationships with key businesses in the region and beyond to cultivate extraordinary career path opportunities.
“As the second-largest private university in Minnesota, CSP is gaining deeper respect in the corporate landscape with our graduates in leadership roles in many of the region’s top employers,” added Thom. “CSP’s broad array of degree programs accessible in-person, online, or hybrid, the College of Business & Technology can serve students anywhere in the world – and in ways that align with their personal needs. The growth potential is extraordinary.”
Undergraduate and graduate degrees open up significant opportunities for advancement. Here are a few quick examples:
- Degree completion through our non-traditional programming can eliminate corporate barriers to hiring or advancement.
- Traditional and non-traditional undergraduate degrees open doors to first-time career jobs or promotions.
As noted in the data below, CSP’s traditional undergraduate programs in business have seen notable growth over the past decade, but indications are enrollment may be plateauing.
CSP sees an important opportunity to focus on retaining and strengthening enrollment in our in-person business/technology programs. One key area of focus will be to continue to extend the value of program offerings and affordability to align student needs and career aspirations with the expanding job market for related fields.
The chart below focuses on our adult non-traditional undergrad business and technology offerings, which have seen a slight downward trend since a peak enrollment in 2018.
The new alignment of the College of Business & Technology will create opportunities for CSP to reverse this trend, in part, by building better connectivity with the students who enroll in the program, many of whom might never set foot on campus. Examples of ways the new structure will position CSP to return to growth include:
- Expanding high-demand degree program offerings
- Ensuring our competitive tuition stance, which allows CSP to offer a top quality private university degree at an affordable cost
- Strengthening transfer credits to honor and recognize the work our adult students have done academically and professionally
- Shifting from 4 to 3 credit gen-ed requirements to streamline pathways to completion
It will be essential for the college to remove barriers and advance students through their programs effectively to support their ultimate career aspirations.
Finally, turning to graduate degree offerings, the new alignment for the College of Business & Technology will extend a decade of fairly consistent enrollment growth.
With a strong foundation in graduate degree offerings that are deeply relevant to the needs of today’s organizations, CSP sees significant opportunity to serve a much larger audience. We’ve seen strong gains in attracting students with international backgrounds and we will continue to expand outreach to such audiences, which will further diversify and strengthen overall enrollment.
In addition, the chart above shows the growth of STEM, information technology, data analytics, and cybersecurity, alongside the core of business administration, which is projected for even more growth in the coming years. MBAs and other Masters degrees are becoming even more valuable, particularly for those seeking leadership and executive roles within organizations of all types.
The Go-Forward Strategy for the College of Business & Technology
As with the other colleges within CSP, we are well positioned to implement the new program alignment on the university’s solid foundation:
- Proven 20+ years of exceptional online degree program delivery
- Experienced faculty spanning academics and from-the-trenches business experience
- Continue to expand our depth in diversity, equity, and inclusion through staffing, academic programming, and content
The leadership within the College of Business & Technology is supported by the executive leadership at CSP. All are aligned on providing faculty members with the best tools and the time they need to orchestrate the best student experiences possible. With an ongoing focus on multiple delivery modes, the faculty will be empowered to help students maximize their access to the wide range of business-relevant academics CSP offers within the college.
In addition, CSP will focus on helping students not only complete their degrees affordably and on time, but they will also focus on maintaining a connectedness to CSP so our bachelor degree recipients keep CSP in mind for their graduate opportunities.
CSP will also continue to foster deep relationships in the business community in the Twin Cities and elsewhere to be known as a go-to source for graduate degrees for those seeking to expand their career potential even further. The opportunities in high-growth areas such as cybersecurity, business management, health care, analytics, and information technology will be foundational for students just starting out, as well as those much further along in their careers.