University prepares to launch a new online bachelor’s degree in applied technical leadership

Program focuses on providing leadership skills for those in the career fields of health, law enforcement, fire service and other technical disciplines

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Linda Underhill

Rochester Institute of Technology is launching a new, fully online degree this year that enables working professionals who have completed associates degrees related to the fields of technology, public service, military, health and related fields that will position them to move forward in their career paths. The Bachelor of Science in Applied Technical Leadership program, is part of RIT Online. All courses are taught online. Prospective students can apply online through RIT’s Admissions Office.

“Working professionals in these specialized fields need upper level education and skills that build on their previous academic work that connects to their career fields and aspirations and is delivered in a manner that allows them to balance the competing demands of work, family and education,” said Linda Underhill, associate professor and department chair of Service Systems based in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology.

Entering students are required to have earned an associate degree in a technical field. Transfer credit in general education, math, lab sciences and technical studies from the associate degree is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. It is anticipated that most students will enter with approximately third-year status depending on grades and courses taken for the associate degree. Once transfer credit has been applied, remaining coursework is completed online through RIT.

The program requires 120 semester hours, and a student who transfers in 60 semester hours from their associate degree, for example, would then need 60 RIT credits to complete the Applied Technical Leadership degree. The Applied Technical Leadership curriculum is multidisciplinary and draws on several RIT programs and colleges for its unique applied curriculum. The required upper level core courses include applied leadership, human resource development, crisis intervention, environmental health and safety law and service quality from the College of Applied Science and Technology; project management from the School of Individualized Studies; financial accounting from the Saunders College of Business, and public policy and technical communication from the College of Liberal Arts.

“We have this program set up for working professionals. We believe the program will appeal to them the most and all the leadership attributes we’ll stress in the program will be applied to areas they have their expertise in,” Underhill said. “While they may be excellent clinicians or law enforcement personnel, this is an opportunity to prepare for leadership positions in these same areas.”

The department is accepting applications for the spring semester, which will begin January 2016. For more information about the program or to apply, contact Underhill by phone at 585-475-7359 or by email at