UNC Greensboro has launched a new online bachelor’s degree focused on helping students develop the skills that employers say are lacking in the workplace.
The bachelor’s degree in integrated professional studies (BIPS) focuses on six transferrable skills that can be applied across disciplines: design thinking, systems thinking, understanding data, contemporary media literacies, self-awareness and cross-cultural competence and global understanding.
Research shows that employers are looking for what is known as a “the T-shaped professional” – individuals with both depth in an area of interest and breadth to see and think from different perspectives.
In response to this research, as well as conversations with local employers, UNCG developed this unique curriculum, offered fully-online. While the program is geared toward working professionals because of its flexibility, BIPS is growing in popularity among all types of students, especially individuals in rural communities.
Currently, 122 students are enrolled in the program. All BIPS-specific courses are seven-week, project-based courses that give students the opportunity to develop and practice these core skills, and then confidently apply them in real life settings – in their workplaces, their student organizations, their homes and their communities.
In addition to the core curriculum, students choose one of four areas of focus – health and wellness, management, service, and arts, entertainment and media – or customize their industry focus area.
It’s not just the curriculum that sets the BIPS program apart – it’s the individualized investment in students.
Even before a student enrolls in the program, they complete pre-academic advising with BIPS staff to ensure the program is a good fit based on their interests and career goals. Throughout the program, each student is assigned a coach to chart a clear path toward graduation and decrease time to degree.
“We are really committed to supporting students every step of the way, in whatever form that takes,” said Dr. Courtney Harrington, program director. “Often it means coaches reaching out to students and being proactive. We have a really student-focused program and student-centered philosophy.”
While many students enter the program with transfer credit hours, BIPS is a full four-year degree program. Harrington serves as the program director, and students have access to several BIPS coaches and advisors as well. Faculty consist of UNCG professors and adjunct instructors, many of whom have a professional background.
To learn more about the program, visit bips.uncg.edu.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications