New degrees could help with Wright State’s budget problems

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New degrees could help with Wright State’s budget problems

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Wright State University’s Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration building was opened on Thursday, April 16. The $37 million building was designed to drive research interaction from seven disciplines to develop treatments and devices to understand and treat brain, spinal cord and nerve disorders. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

New degrees at Wright State will offer more options for students but also another source of revenue for the cash-strapped university.

Wright State officials took steps Friday to add a new bachelor’s degree program in neuroscience and another in business entrepreneurship, which combined could eventually net the university more than $1.4 million annually.

The academic affairs committee of WSU’s board of trustees agreed to bring the degree proposals before the full board for a vote at the Feb. 17 board meeting. The programs also need approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The degree proposals come as Doug Fecher, chair of the board of trustees financial committee, has called for the university to diversify its revenue to address budget concerns.

“High-value degree programs would be a step in the right direction,” Fecher said. “We have to create value for students to want to go to school here.”

The neuroscience degree is expected to generate more than $65,000 in annual net revenue in its first year and more than $1.3 million annually by its eighth year, according to a proposal presented to the board. The business entrepreneurship degree program is estimated to bring in more than $86,000 net revenue in its first year and more than $163,000 by its fifth year, according to a degree proposal.

The neuroscience program is expected to start off with 25 students enrolled and then double in size within five years, said Patrick Sonner, a neuroscience instructor. The University of Cincinnati and Ohio State both offer similar neuroscience degrees, Sonner said.

In April, Wright State opened $37 million building designed to drive neuroscience research.

“Neurscience has a long history of innovation and excellence here at Wright State University,” Sonner told trustees on Friday.

Miami University and UC also offer similar entrepreneurship degrees, said marketing professor Kendall Goodrich.

Goodrich expects the program would welcome around 18 students its first year and would grow to 25 students by its third year.

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