Wittenberg adds neuroscience major with higher education company

Wittenberg University is now enrolling students in its new major in neuroscience for the spring 2023 semester.

The major has been added through the university’s partnership with Rize Education, which is a higher education company that uses a course-sharing model to help expand opportunities at the college by creating shared majors and adopting high-demand programs.

“We are excited to have a neuroscience major that will prepare our students for their career goals by requiring them to have either first an internship or research experience before they graduate, and second, to have the opportunity to take advanced neuroscience courses, through our Rize partnership, that most other small liberal arts college cannot offer,” said Michelle McWhorter, associate professor of biology and director of the neuroscience program.

The neuroscience major is the third new track as part of the partnership built in collaboration with the Lower Cost Models Consortium (LCMC). The other tracks are within the management major and include supply chain management and project management.

With the partnership, the university renamed the department of business of economics, combined the existing bachelor of arts degree in business, and added new concentrations aimed at providing students with knowledge in high-growth skill areas.

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The new multidisciplinary neuroscience degree is designed to be a job-focused and an innovative degree that allows students to pursue a wide variety of careers. Neuroscience is often used as a premedical degree and for those interested in psychology or psychiatry, but the opportunities have now expanded to roles in tech, finance, healthcare, consumer products, government and more.

The project-based and portfolio-building curriculum is designed to help students with a resume before graduation and ensure the opportunity to stand out to hiring managers in any field.

Olivia Norbut, class of 2024 from Grove City, is one of the first current students who plans to major in the new program.

“I am thrilled that the neuroscience major passed because not only does this program provide me with the opportunity to receive a degree in what I am most passionate about, but it also provides future students, who have yet to discover that neuroscience is what lights their ‘fire,’ with the same opportunity,” she said.

Norbut said she “fell even more in love” when she started taking psychology classes along with her biology classes.

“Now that neuroscience is a major, I can continue to apply what I have learned in doing research, as well as deepen my understanding of the science of the brain. Plus, now that this program is offered, it gives Wittenberg a competitive edge for prospective students interested in pursuing a major in STEM fields,” she said.

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Rize, a higher education company, uses a course-sharing model that helps private colleges and universities expand educational opportunities for students while lowering institutional costs. The consortium helps schools create new shared majors, using curricula developed and taught by leading experts from industry and academia.

With the help of Rize, Wittenberg can adopt high-demand programs, with all new tracks using courses available through the LCMC on the Rize platform.

The LCMC is a partnership of private colleges and universities that collaborate with Rize to provide access to curriculum that prepares students for successful careers.

“Students with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience could have roles as laboratory technicians, law enforcement professionals, health educators and technical writers, according to Rize, which are jobs that offer a salary above the national median and are experiencing job growth above the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

In addition to these, the university plans to look at other academic programs in partnership with Rize, including those related to health and public health.

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