Clarkson introduces new online master’s degree in ‘Business of Energy’

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POTSDAM — Clarkson University announced a new online Master of Science degree in “The Business of Energy” on Tuesday, adding another online graduate program to the offerings from its Capital Region campus in Schenectady.

The new master’s program builds on a previous graduate certification program covering energy systems, which has been running for several years, according to Robert Kozik, associate dean of engineering at the Capital Region campus. The new master’s combines the specific courses of that program with broader offerings in the Master of Business Administration program.

“It’s a fascinating business,” Mr. Kozik said. “And right now, no one else attacks it like us … it’s a very practical approach to a diverse industry.”

The courses will cover a broad range of topics, including the power marketplace, challenges of aging infrastructure and new sources of energy. Many of these courses were included in an older certification program begun about four years ago, when Mr. Kozik brought up the idea in a conversation with Kenneth D. Daly, president of the New York region of National Grid.

“I really like this, and I want to get this done,” Mr. Daly told Mr. Kozik.

“That was music to our ears,” Mr. Kozik said.

National Grid wanted the program to be online so that workers across the state, and outside the state, could benefit from it. This has added a diversity of experiences to the classes, according to Mr. Kozik.

About half the students have been from National Grid, half from other companies that do energy work. Within those companies, students work in a range of fields from human resources to finance. Mr. Kozik said having the full masters program online will continue this diverse mix of students.

“You’re going to have all kinds of different eyeballs from different companies looking at the same material,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of online (learning), but this — boy, I’m ecstatic.”

The advantage of a master’s program is that in addition to allowing for more in-depth learning, it makes it easier for professionals to get their degrees paid for.

“A lot of organizations don’t do tuition reimbursement unless it’s a degree,” Mr. Kozik said. “Making it a degree, first of all, makes it better; second of all, (it) makes it more attractive for tuition reimbursement.”

The inclusion of MBA courses also allows employees to learn more about their own focus within the energy industry while also getting a sense of the business as a whole.

“It’s the kind of program that helps everyone in the organization,” Mr. Kozik said.

The master’s degree courses will officially start next month, but Mr. Kozik expects the major enrollment to begin in fall of 2018. Clarkson plans to offer two courses in the program at a time, each limited to 15 participants. The certificate program is still available, and students can apply courses from the certificate toward the new master’s.

For more information about the program, visit http://bit.ly/2rKyOg0.

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