Two new academic programs to launch with start of 2018-19 year

by Susan Sullivan | Nov 29, 2017

Starting next August, incoming Marian University students can include a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness and a minor in cross-cultural studies among their educational choices.

With Marian's growing emphasis on the health professions, offering a bachelor's degree in nutrition, fitness, and wellness seemed to be a natural fit for the university, says Dr. Loren A. Bertocci, director of the university's Program in Exercise and Sports Science.

"This B.S. degree will produce graduates with a broad understanding of all major scientific and behavioral factors that, when combined, lead to the promotion of good health," Bertocci reports. 

Dr. Loren A. Bertocci is leading a new degree program in nutrition, fitness, and wellnessThe nutrition, fitness, and wellness (NFW) major is ideal for students who want to move forward toward careers that promote holistic human health, reports Dr. Loren Bertocci.

Much of what modern medicine defines as "disease" is self-inflicted, especially in aging adults, he says. "As a society, too many of us eat poorly and indulge in huge portions, get little or no exercise, smoke, use alcohol to excess, and abuse drugs. Traditional medicine may be equipped to treat some of these symptoms, but often the underlying human behaviors and emotions that cause them go untreated. To effect change, we need trained professionals who can help patients change their daily behaviors, moving them toward healthier habits that will enable them to live stronger, longer lives."

Graduates of the NFW program will be well-prepared to pursue professional certifications in fields like Health and Wellness Coaching offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners, Bertocci reports. He also expects many graduates will apply for admission to master's and doctoral programs in healthcare fields.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Jamie Higgs will coordinate and serve as the academic advisor for the university's new cross-cultural studies minor.

Higgs, an associate professor of art and art history in the Department of Visual and Creative Arts, says cultural diversity is a reality in today's world. She notes that cross-cultural awareness and understanding embraces the university's Franciscan values, especially dignity of the individual.

With increased economic globalization combined with on-going political, religious, and cultural tensions between countries in various parts of the world, many challenges center around a lack of sensitivity, awareness, and understanding about people from other cultures, she believes.

"When we communicate and engage with others, we need to understand how to do so effectively and respectfully. So, by preparing culturally competent graduates who will go on to work in fields like business, education, healthcare, and social services, the new cross-cultural minor is an excellent program to advance Marian University's mission," Higgs notes.

Students earning a cross-cultural minor will complete 18 credits of coursework designed to increase their knowledge of and appreciation for the arts, literature, theology, philosophy, music, and psychology of peoples who live in countries around the world. They will be encouraged to complete at least one study-abroad course.

For information about the university's new Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness and minor in cross-cultural studies, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission at, 317.955.6300, or 800.772.7264.

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