Sophia Timba | September 01, 2023
Brockport Launches Four New Majors
Starting this semester, cybersecurity, early childhood inclusive education, economics, and graphic design majors will be offered to undergraduate students.
Students in the Department of Computing Sciences’ cybersecurity major will learn to identify and troubleshoot security breaches through hands-on experience with security tools in our state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab.
“With our increased reliance on computers and networks and connected devices, we’re seeing more and more breaches on a daily basis,” said Mehruz Kamal, professor and chair of the Department of Computing Sciences.
In developing the program, the department has consulted Cyber Security Hall of Famer Gene Spafford ’79. After receiving his degree in computer science from Brockport, Spafford went on to be one of the first contributors to the field of cybersecurity, and a founder of cyber forensics.
“I think cybersecurity is something that is going to have longevity and a great potential to serve students,” said Spafford. “More importantly it’s going to have an opportunity to improve the community and give Brockport a greater ability to integrate and support the community and University.”
Early Childhood Inclusive Education
The Early Childhood Inclusive Education (ECIE) major is designed to prepare teacher candidates to educate and engage with children with varying abilities, languages, and cultural backgrounds from the ages of infancy to second grade.
ECIE majors will complete 50 hours of hands-on learning in various settings like daycares, preschools, and elementary schools, followed by a full time internship alongside an experienced teacher. The major prepares students for two certifications, early childhood education and students with disabilities.
“We prepare teachers to help every student learn, grow, and thrive.”
“We’re most excited about the experiential opportunities our teacher candidates will have,” said Janka Szilagyi, professor and chair of the Department of Education and Human Development. “We prepare teachers to help every student learn, grow, and thrive.”
The NYS Department of Labor projects that employment of preschool teachers will grow between 27% and 38% from 2020 to 2030. This significant job market growth, coupled with a highly-valued dual certification, ensures our graduates are ready for the workforce.
“Our new major addresses a great need in the local and greater community,” said Szilagyi.
The School of Business and Management is expanding their economics minor into a full-fledged major. The program is a rigorous introduction into the science of human behavior on both a large and small scale. Students will learn the fundamental concepts of economics, as well as the statistical tools needed to apply them to real world data.
“Econ majors succeed anywhere they go.”
Graduates with degrees in economics often venture into careers such as finance, politics, law, and analytics, but according to assistant professor of economics Cameron Harwick “evidence shows econ majors succeed anywhere they go.”
That’s because, at its core, economics is about more than just money. It’s about patterns, incentive, choice, and the ramifications they have on the world — which is what Harwick is passionate about teaching to his students.
“I fell in love with econ when I was in college as a way to understand the world, and I’m excited to get to pass that along to our students with our new major,” Harwick said.
Another program receiving an upgrade is our current graphic design concentration, which will be a major with its own unique curriculum.
Students already within the concentration will be migrated into the new major, while new students will enter from day one. Both groups will receive a bachelor’s degree in graphic design — a specification that will prove advantageous as future graduates seek employment.
“We not only teach the tools of design, but perhaps more importantly, we emphasize conceptual and methodological approaches for using those tools.”
The Department of Art plans to expand the major further by beginning the search for a new faculty member who will offer specialized courses in UX/UI, motion graphics, and web design. This change reflects our society’s reliance on digital media and its demand for strong visual communication.
“Graphic design, and design more generally, is the process of bringing form to content,” said Mitchell Christensen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art. “At Brockport, we teach students how to develop rational, appropriate, and aesthetically elegant solutions to visual communication problems — and then provide the skills to create them.”