It is hard to believe that my first academic year at University of the Sciences, serving as dean of the Samson College of Health Sciences (SCHS), has come to an end. This has been an eventful and enjoyable year, where I have learned many things about my new environment, and have worked with talented and wonderful people. In particular, I have been impressed with the caliber of the students in the College’s professional and undergraduate programs, and with the excellent and dedicated faculty. I would like to update our readers about some of the College’s major accomplishments and initiatives during 2008-2009.
- College of Health Sciences is renamed the Samson College of Health Sciences
The University’s board of trustees approved changing the name of the College of Health Sciences to the Samson College of Health Sciences. The change is honor of Marvin Samson, a longtime friend, honorary alumnus, trustee, and vice chairman of the University's board. We are honored the College’s name reflects his dedication to the University. The name change is effective immediately, and we will hold a celebration announcing the change in the fall.
- Physical Therapy Program Re-accreditation Site Visit, April 5-April 8, 2009
For the past year, the physical therapy program faculty have been preparing for their re-accreditation process. Under the direction of Chairperson Dr. Marc Campolo and Associate Chairperson Dr. Carol Maritz, faculty responded to numerous evaluation criteria related to all aspects of the doctor of physical therapy program, in preparation of the self-study document. The self-study document was submitted to the accrediting body, CAPTE, in February with a site evaluation in April. In order to achieve their goal of verifying the self-study document, site visitors met with students, faculty, administrators, library staff, alumni, preceptors, admissions staff, and others. The exit summary of the site visit team was highly positive, an impression that was reinforced by the preliminary report of the team, which we received in late April. The CAPTE Board will meet in October to determine the PT programs accreditation status. We anticipate a positive response and continued accreditation of the DPT program.
- Occupational Therapy Program creation of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree (DrOT)
During the past academic year, faculty of the OT department under the leadership of Chairperson Dr. Paula Kramer, have been working on the creation of a DrOT entry level program to replace the current master’s of occupational therapy (MOT) program. This DrOT program will be the first of its kind, not only in Pennsylvania, but also the region. In fact, there are currently only four existing entry level OT doctoral programs in the United States, so this will be a major achievement for the University and the College. The DrOT will enhance our competitiveness relative to other OT programs in the region. With the expansion of the knowledge-base for the practice of occupational therapy, the growing population of elderly and autistic children, and the movement towards clinical doctoral preparation amongst many health professions, this program is much needed.
The DrOT program will offer two options: a 4 + 2 option, where students will enter as first year students, take six academic years, including three summers, and will earn the DrOT and a BS in health sciences; and a post-baccalaureate option, where students with a baccalaureate degree will enter at the start of the professional phase of the program and take four academic years, including three summers. In addition to generalist OT preparation, students will be able to choose a specialty focus, either community or leadership. The proposal to create the program will be submitted to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s education regulation office for review. We hope to admit our first class of six year students in the fall 2010 semester.
- The Fitness and Health Management Program is changing its name to Exercise Science and Wellness Management
After researching names of similar programs at other universities, and surveying current and potential students, it was determined that “exercise science and wellness management” is the preferred and most common name for such programs, and more closely reflects the nature of our program. Under the leadership of Program Director Karin Richards, a task force was created to review the program’s curriculum, minor changes were made, and necessary equipment for an exercise science and wellness management program was purchased. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s education regulatory office is currently reviewing our request to change the name. We hope to receive permission to change our name for the 2009-2010 academic year.
These are just a sampling of the achievements of the SCHS programs and faculty during the 2008-09 academic year. Faculties in all programs have also worked diligently on their scholarship and research, their clinical practice, and their community service – all involving their students. I am most fortunate to have been selected as dean.