Rye aims for information tech school

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By Beatrice Politi 

Ryerson could see a different breed of business student next September if a new Bachelor of Commerce in Information Technology degree is approved.

Along with the degree, a new school would be created called information technology management (ITM).  The school would eliminate the administration and information management (AIM) program and the business information systems (BIS) major, consolidating the two.

“Everybody wins,” said Stanley Health, dean of the school of business.  “Clearly, students win by getting a better program and industry wins by getting qualified.”

Health chaired a committee formed a year-and-a-half ago to look into overlaps between the programs.  The committee found AIM’s strength was in the telecommunications area, while BIS focused on programming and applications development.  Health said the new school will integrate strengths from both programs.

The new degree is being reviewed by academic standards — a committee responsible for maintaining high academic standards at Ryerson — this week.  If approved, the curriculum will be presented to academic council in January.  Because the degree would merge two existing programs, the degree doesn’t have to be approved by Ryerson’s board of governors.

Health said the new program doesn’t pose a threat to faculty.  The 20 fulltime, tenured professors in AIM and BIS will keep their jobs and additional instructors may be hired if enrolment increases.

The 1,000 enrolled in AIM and BIS can choose to continue with the current curriculum or transfer to the new program.  A transfer will likely mean additional prerequisites courses for most students depending on what credits they have completed.

Melissa Woodley, a fourth-year AIM student and a representative on the curriculum committee, said the changes are welcomed by students.

“It’s good for the school and I’m happy that it’s being done at all,” she said.  “It can’t happen soon enough.”

Woodley said the AIM program is too broad and doesn’t offer options to choose majors or specialized streams of study.  Woodley also said students feel AIM’s Bachelor of Applied Arts in Information Management isn’t readily recognized in the working world.

If passed in January, ITM will be the only degree of its kind in the Toronto area.

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