Northwestern State to offer two new certificate programs


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University has received approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents to offer two undergraduate certificates, one in business analytics and one in leadership studies.

According to Curtis Penrod, senior coordinator of business programs and assistant professor, these new programs will allow current students and new students to pursue the undergraduate certificate.

“Current students can add to their studies to have an additional certificate as well as additional knowledge when they graduate,” said Penrod. “Other students may just be interested in getting the undergraduate certificate and can enroll at the university for that specific purpose. This certificate provides a great opportunity for students to gain enhanced analytical knowledge at the undergraduate level.”

The certificate in business analytics will be online and is designed not only to prepare students for business analytics positions such as market research analyst, management analyst and financial analysts, but to bridge the gap between employer needs and student skills in the area of business data analysis. Key workforce needs identified by NSU that will be served by this program include accounting, business administration and computer information systems. The six-course program consists of existing business courses at NSU covering the skills critical to business analytics including business statistics, database systems, and market research.

University officials conducted a job search on the LAWorks website and found 282 five-star jobs posted for business analyst positions.

The certificate in leadership will build on the successful Presidential Leadership Program (PLP) which selects 90 students per year to participate starting in their freshman year. The program will utilize a combination of classroom instruction and experiential learning. The program includes three courses in place for PLP students, plus upper level courses in organizational communication, leadership and a capstone course within the student’s major. The program is designed to build the soft skills employers report lacking in recent graduates such as problem solving and the ability to work on a team, while also building students’ confidence and ability to work autonomously.

The program is designed to supplement a student’s undergraduate studies in any major to provide work-place valued leadership, mentoring, mediation and communication skills. These skills also translate into the employer desired traits of critical analysis and problem solving.

Designed as a focused, incremental, stackable credential, the undergraduate certificate can be linked to an existing degree program major as an additional focus area (concentration or minor), or it can be a stand-alone area of specialization to augment a student’s educational background and/or to meet industry demand for upper level training. The certificate is comprised of at least 18 credits, of which at least half must be at the upper (junior/senior) level.