Many national science and engineering organizations have been calling for curricular changes in science and technology fields in order to better prepare students for a new world of work. The MIT monograph Made In America puts it best: "The winds of change that are sweeping through industry and the economy will not spare institutions of higher education. In particular, the education of engineers and managers must be transformed." The National Science Foundation reported, in 1991, that while the present system of engineering education produced graduates with strong technical skills, it was less successful in developing other, critical skills necessary for increasing international competition. "These critical skills, include oral and written communication, teamwork, leadership, an understanding of the non-technical factors [such as] economic, social, political, ethical [issues] in engineering decision-making, and a broad international perspective."
Marshall University is moving to fill this gap that is not being addressed by many traditional programs. The IST degree is not another reshuffling of old courses into a different program for the purposes of having something that can be called "new". Over thirty new courses have been prepared specifically for the IST degree program. They bring together faculty and subject matter from a variety of disciplines in order to provide genuinely new classroom experiences.
The BS Degree in Integrated Science and Technology is a new degree program, similar to ones recently developed at other universities, that provides an alternative to traditional programs in science, technology, and engineering. It is integrated in two distinct ways. Individual courses have subject matter from different disciplines integrated into new configurations, moving beyond single-subject courses, with courseware designed to be strongly informed by and integrated among those various disciplines. To accomplish this the IST program brings together faculty and subject matter from engineering, chemistry, physics, biological science, computer and information science, mathematics, English, communication studies, management, and medicine to create a uniquely different degree program.
Your study in college should prepare you for a career. The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Integrated Science and Technology was designed to prepare for the changing nature of science and technology fields. Our IST graduates will see how science and technology affect society and learn how society impacts science and technology in return. They will learn to place a premium on communication skills, skills that all employers tell us their employees desperately need. Our students will have abundant opportunities to work cooperatively with others, learning how to function as teams. IST graduates will have opportunities to develop and utilize problem-solving skills. In all these ways, and more, Marshall University is filling a gap in the traditional training of scientists and engineers.
The IST degree prepares graduates for a wide range of careers that call for solid scientific and technological backgrounds, excellent communication skills, the ability to work effectively in teams, and the flexibility to adapt to changing work conditions. Careers that will attract IST graduates may well be in areas such as product design, manager of quality and standards, technology relationship manager, information technology, materials manager, product management, quality assurance manager, product service manager, environmental consultants, manager of scientific conferences, inventory management, ecology laboratory manager, director of technical development, director of risk control, service technical specialist, and many more.
The key to careers for IST graduates is the idea of flexibility. IST graduates will not be limited by training in a narrow specialization. IST graduates will have the wide range of skills mentioned earlier: skills in communications, skills in leadership, skills in teamwork. They will have knowledge of the social, political, business, and ethical issues that influence science and technology in today's world.