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Auburn trustees approve two new degree programs, vote to end a third


Auburn trustees approve two new degree programs, vote to end a third

Nov 17, 2023 | 4:01 pm ET
By Jemma Stephenson
Auburn trustees approve two new degree programs, vote to end a third
A sign for Auburn University seen on August 14, 2023 in Auburn, Alabama. Behind the sign is William J. Samford Hall. (Brian Lyman/Alabama Reflector)

The Auburn University Board of Trustees Friday approved two new degree programs and voted to end another one.

Board members approved a master’s of social work at Auburn University of Montgomery and a master’s of science in artificial intelligence engineering at Auburn University. The Board approved the closure of the bachelor’s of wireless engineering.

Carl Stockton, chancellor of AUM, said that the new Master of Social Work would prepare students for practice and expand their social work offerings.

“The program is designed to provide students with the skills they need to practice in advanced clinical social work practice with a focus on trauma-responsive based social work,” he said.

The program would also align with HB 56, sponsored by Rep. Frances Holk-Jones, R-Foley, which expanded the scope of practice for social workers in Alabama, said Stockton. The bill was passed by the Legislature in 2023 and later signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey. The bill allows social workers to diagnose and develop treatment plans.

Stockton told the trustees that the AUM bachelor’s of social work program, which graduated its first cohort in May, has 117 students.

Vini Nathan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said that the new Master of Artificial Intelligence Engineering would have around 20 students at maturity and said that the school already has the needed resources.

“This meets a statewide and nationwide workforce demand for trained AI professionals,” she said.

Stockton had previously received approval for a Master of AI for AUM at the August Board of Trustees meeting.

Nathan also sought approval to close the bachelor’s of wireless engineering program at Auburn University. She said the program has not met the enrollment projections they had in mind. She said there are currently around 20 students in the program, and she said they have a “detailed plan” for those students.

“Students who want to get skills in this area can take existing courses that are offered through other programs in the College of Engineering,” she said.

The proposals were first approved by the Academic Affairs Committee and then the full Board of Trustees.

The two new programs have to go through the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and then The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for approval. The bodies will also have to approve the closing of the bachelor of wireless engineering program.