SUNY Brockport Introducing Three New Academic Programs

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The college will field three new interdisciplinary programs in the Fall 2021 semester, including a community justice major that is the first of its kind in the nation.

SUNY Brockport’s academic landscape will continue to grow with the launch of three new interdisciplinary degree programs.

Undergraduate community justice and neuroscience majors as well as an athletic training graduate program are launching next semester, each integrating core courses from current college curriculum.

Catch a sneak peek of the new programs coming this fall:

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Bachelor of Science in Community Justice

If you’re a student who notices injustices in the world and hopes to make fundamental changes, the college’s new community justice program is for you. The program will focus on preparing professionals in the field of law enforcement who understand that society’s complex problems are products of social inequalities that require complex solutions.

“Recent events are likely to galvanize change in many directions, including a desire to change the system from within,” said Tracy Rogers, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto. “Programs such as the major in community justice may become a rallying point for equality, equity, and diversity in the justice system, offering students a career built upon advocacy, tolerance, and respect for others that will make tangible differences in the community.”

If you haven’t heard of a community justice degree before, you’re not alone. According to Chair of the Department of Anthropology Jennifer Ramsay, “the major in community justice will be the first in the nation to offer the unique pairing of criminal justice and anthropology.”

Interdisciplinary curriculum will combine courses from the Departments of Criminal Justice and Anthropology. The goal is to produce professionals who go on to work in law enforcement and the justice system who have a background on how to work and empathize with diverse groups of individuals.

“It is important that we teach our students about equality, equity, and diversity in the justice system while they are in college,” said Ramsay. “It is much easier for someone to integrate a diverse philosophy while they are still completing their studies, compared to when they are a professional in the field.”

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Master of Science in Athletic Training

The college’s master’s in athletic training is a new take on a program that Brockport has offered for more than 20 years. In 2018, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), the accrediting body for Brockport’s undergraduate athletic training program, made the decision to transition the entry-level degree required for an athletic trainer from a bachelor’s to a master’s degree.

“Similar degrees in other allied health programs require an advanced degree at the entry level,” said Tim Henry, director of the athletic training program. “Our hope is that this will increase the recognition of athletic trainers.”

Although its predecessor heavily influences the master’s program, an emphasis on interdisciplinary education amongst other allied health programs is now at the core of its curriculum. The program plans to work alongside the Department of Nursing, which has offered the use of its simulation lab for athletic training and other interdisciplinary courses.

“We want our students to be exposed to other allied health professionals including professors from other departments at Brockport,” Henry said. “One way is using interdepartmental courses in our curriculum. We also offer internships and extracurricular experience that will lead to exposure to allied health professionals.”

With other local institutions dropping their athletic training program entirely due to the changes from CAATE, Brockport is in a unique position to offer a program to students who are interested in pursuing a career in athletic training in the Rochester area.

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Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience

The new neuroscience program will give students an opportunity to dive into the depths of the human brain. Neuroscientists are leaders in the field of studying artificial intelligence and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

“The field of neuroscience has been growing for quite a while,” said Rey Sia, assistant dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “Our students often asked about this type of program, and that is what motivated us to see if we could find a way to offer it.”

The curriculum will incorporate courses from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Psychology. This interdisciplinary approach is core to the foundation of a degree in neuroscience. Students need a fundamental understanding of all three fields to understand how the brain functions.

“Our world is moving closer to the need for an interdisciplinary education,” said Amanda Lipko-Speed, chair of the Department of Psychology. “Difficult problems are solved by different approaches. If you only think one way because that is your specialty, an interdisciplinary education allows you to see how others think.”

Students who are pursuing a career in the field of neuroscience typically continue their education after earning their bachelor’s degree. Brockport is in a unique position to offer potential students a financially accessible avenue to begin their studies toward a career in neuroscience.

“Neuroscience programs are not typically available at the SUNY level,” said Lipko-Speed. “By offering a neuroscience program at Brockport, we give students the option to finish their undergraduate degree at a much cheaper price compared to private institutions.”

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