Faculty senate approves new master’s programs, emphasizing artificial intelligence

ai master'sFaculty chair Noël Barengo speaking at the meeting | Fariha Tasnim Amir, PantherNOW

Fariha Tasnim Amir | Contributing Writer

FIU is launching a handful of new master’s programs with a focus on strengthening the students’ AI literacy to meet industry demands.

These programs include Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Business Analytics in Artificial Intelligence, Health Informatics, and Artificial Intelligence as well as two new tracks.

During the Faculty Senate meeting on 12th March 2024, the senate approved several majors for masters students as well as introduced one new track for doctorate students.

The first major to be approved in the meeting is the Masters of Science in Financial and Quantitative Analysis, represented by faculty member Arun Upadhyay.

 This major will be offered to graduate students over three semesters starting the upcoming fall semester. Arun clarified that the classes will take place over the fall, spring, and summer semesters, making the program 36 credit hours, primarily focusing on analytics.

“There is a huge demand in financial analytics here because of the financial and investment management companies moving from New York and other cities to Miami,” Arun Upadhyay said on the importance of this major.

The second major approved by the senate in the meeting is the MBA in Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. Expanding the current MBA program by integrating AI is the goal here. 

Representative Karlene Cousins insisted on the significance of AI expertise in business by mentioning a recent Forbes article where it was stated that Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer is a new emerging role nowadays.

“What they need is a leader that can understand AI and can align that with the business and that is what this major proposes to do,” Karlene clarified in the meeting. 

The graduates from this major will be qualified to fill roles such as Chief AI officer, chief information officer, and chief digital officer. This major expands upon the builds on the existing Business Analytics program.

The specific AI courses for this program’s course curriculum are Python Fundamentals, AI Strategy, and Machine Learning for Business Applications. The graduates from this major will be the bridge between the students of data science and AI and the users of management in the work field.

With the current Business Analytics MBA major expanding, faculty senate also approved the existing Business Analytics MBA degree with AI in it.

Senate also introduced Health Informatics and Artificial intelligence. Currently, the MS in Health Informatics and Analytics (HIA) has 28 core courses with 9 required ones. The newly approved program will have the same amount of courses but the AI courses will be mandatory, as stated by the representative Karlene Cousins.

The AI classes the graduate students will be taking for the Master’s of Science in Health Informatics are AI Capstone and AI in Healthcare. They are designed for healthcare professionals especially. These graduate students will be taking other Masters of Science courses as well since this major simply builds on the existing healthcare-related major.

“Right now 30 students will be taking this major but with the demand for employees with expertise in AI in this field, we anticipate that this program will grow,” Karlene said while answering a question about the overlap of courses with other healthcare majors.

In this meeting, the Faculty Senate of FIU also approved of multiple new tracks for master’s and doctorate students. Currently, FIU offers the MS degree in Information Systems in 3 tracks, the Digital Transformation Systems, Business Cybersecurity, and Business Analytics tracks. 

FIU approved a new fourth track of Artificial Intelligence for MS in Information Systems to accommodate the current trends in the industry as well as to meet the needs of business partners. “AI is an emerging field and we currently have a workforce gap and we’re trying to fill the industry’s needs and fill the gap,” Cousins said in support of the track.

The AI courses for the track of Artificial Intelligence in MS in Information Systems are- Python Fundamentals for Business, Machine Learning for Business, Business AI Applications, AI Strategy Application, and Business AI Capstone.

The last track to be approved of during the faculty senate meeting held this week is the new track of Hospitality and Management concentration within the Doctorate in Business Administration program.

This new track in Doctorate of Business Administration is a collaboration between the College of Business and Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

According to the representative of the proposal Miguel Aguirre-Urreta, this track will allow the graduate students interested in hospitality to spend their second year with the faculty of hospitality as there will be 4 specialized courses on hospitality.

The proposal suggested replacing four business classes in the existing DBA program with four hospitality-specific courses for the second year while keeping the rest of the core structure unchanged.

Other than approving new and improved expanded majors for the Masters and Doctorate students, the board also approved 3 courses for Global Learning Designation.

On behalf of the Global Learning Curriculum Oversight Committee, Jennifer Gebelein proposed the following courses before the faculty senate for approval: American History 1607-1850, Education in History, and Education Law, Policy, and Social Justice.

The topic of the Student-Athlete Academic Center accessing the Canvas was also brought up in the meeting. Director Alyssa Roza addressed some concerns regarding this matter during the meeting.

She clarified that the Academic Athletic Observer will only be able to observe the grades in the students’ Canvas and they won’t be able to alter the grades. This is only to monitor the student’s progress so that they can take initiative and reach out before it’s too late. 

ai master's
A slide of SAAC’s concerns with canvas access and student athlete progression | Fariha Tasnim Amir, PantherNOW

There is currently a pilot project taking place testing the canvas access for the student-athlete observers. 7 full-time Athletic Academic Coordinators (AAC) are working on monitoring student-athlete progress toward degrees.

The next faculty senate meeting will be on Tuesday, March 26th at 1 pm.

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