ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL
Minutes of October 5, 2009
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center HSC 505
Present: Alden, Beatty, Cassidy, Dawson, Erman, Goldblum, Gorman, Gough, House, Lee, Novak, Prawitz, Reynolds
Guests: Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Sally Conklin, Public Health and Health Education Coordinator, School of Nursing and Health Studies; Carolinda Douglass, Director, Assessment Services; Brigid Lusk, Chair, School of Nursing and Health Studies; Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences
The meeting was called to order at 3 p.m. Shirley Richmond, Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences; Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences; Brigid Lusk, Chair of the School of Nursing and Health Studies; and Sally Conklin, Public Health and Health Education Coordinator of the School of Nursing and Health Studies were introduced.
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of September 21, 2009, and the motion passed unanimously.
The dean, chair, and coordinator thanked the subcommittee members and provided an overview for the programs in the School of Nursing and Health Studies that are being reviewed today. †The school is particularly pleased to see the need for the teaching methods laboratory mentioned in the subcommittee report. The Master of Public Health program has recently been reaccredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Accreditation helps us strengthen our programs, but it also provides some constraints. The teacher certification program is also accredited by NCATE, and the program follows the standards of the American Association of Health Education.
The meeting was turned over to David Gorman for the presentation of the subcommittee report. There are many departmental strengths. The reorganization in 2007 worked out well; this is the second time that the health education program has been moved since the last program review. The main strength of the school is the engagement with the community. The internship, teaching, and other supervised, hands-on experiences required are important for health professions. The Northern Illinois region provides abundant opportunities for this kind of teaching. The strategic plan adopted by the college is very helpful. Undergraduate advising is a strength; the advisers are professionals from the field. The faculty is young and productive. One advantage of having the programs housed in two buildings is that late-day and weekend classes can be scheduled more easily.
A couple of areas for improvement were noted by the subcommittee members. The location issue is interesting. The distance between the Wirtz Building and the Nursing Building is one mile. There is a strong need for a teaching methods laboratory. Ideally the laboratory would be in Wirtz; the health education students are in the Wirtz Building. There is another teacher certification program in the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences, and these two secondary programs would work together in one laboratory. It would be ideal if the laboratory had the same sort of equipment and options as a middle or high school classroom setting. Right now there is no place for the students to access the curriculum materials we have available. The college is looking at this, and it may be able to set up a laboratory in McMurry. Some of the materials are made available to students electronically, but there are a variety of curriculum materials from other areas in the country that are available in hard copy only. It is advantageous for students to look at hard copies for comparison. In addition, various models and other demonstration materials need to be accessible. The work performed in the laboratory would focus on pedagogy.
Faculty turnover is also a concern. How does this impact research? Right now the research is looking good. CEPH accreditors said that the faculty was extremely strong. There is adequate faculty for the two public health areas, and funding was received last fall from the Office of the Provost for two additional hires. These positions were allocated to the program because it was a highly impacted program. The number of credit hours at the upper-division level increased, so students could get through the program in a timely manner. Now targeted hiring is done for faculty expertise, and the college has moved toward interdisciplinary hires where appropriate.
The discussion turned to the recommendations for the future. The programs should focus on continuing and increasing interaction between the school and the community, fostering multidisciplinary research and teaching, maintaining income from grant money, and exploring the development of a doctoral program. Rathindra Bose came to the college over two years ago and looked at the growing numbers in our programs. The college felt it could have a strong college-focused Ph.D. in health program. A proposal is being written for this, and a committee has been put together to work on this. The program would have specializations across the health areas. A college Ph.D. would allow us to draw from faculty across the entire college.
The school was asked to talk more about the research initiative. The whole faculty in the School of Nursing and Health Studies is involved in this initiative. There is a research committee and some other groups who meet on a regular basis to discuss their work and how they can support each othersí work. Right now we are in the fledgling stage. People are getting excited about research. Individuals involved in research do not necessarily know what others are doing. The college now has a faculty member whose duties include working on establishing research clusters within the college. Research can cut across the health promotion and health services management areas. Publishing circles have been put together with the hope of mentoring each other, and the college senate is working on identifying seed money for projects. This also ties into the collegeís strategic plan. The college is meeting with the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to pursue a grant to look at how we have disciplines come together and cross over into other areas. This grant was not funded, but we hope to pursue this again. The curricula and teaching are changing in these fields, and our graduates need to have these skills when they graduate.
The committee turned to the B.S.Ed. in Health Education program. Strengths include the relocation to the School of Nursing and Health Studies, which turned out well. Enrollment, degree production, and teacher certification scores are all good. NCATE accreditors agreed that the health and educational components of the program are effectively integrated. Students must complete 100 hours of clinical experiences and maintain electronic portfolios. Enrollment is steady, and diversity is good. The number of students pursuing minors has increased. About 95 percent of the credit hours are produced by non-majors; this has doubled during the review period. The number of faculty positions has remained steady during the review period. How did you double credit hours with the same number of faculty? The program has some popular general education courses. In order to continue to use some of the classrooms, we had to raise the cap on some classes from 150 to 240 students. We have had to increase the number of sections offered. Majors in heath education also take these classes. This seems like a very healthy program.
The discussion point is that the program needs a teaching methods laboratory; this was already discussed by the APC.
Recommendations for the future are to continue to work on the assessment plan, maintain enrollment, maintain or improve diversity, make this a program of first choice for students, and cultivate alumni as potential resources for the program. These recommendations are pretty straightforward. Are the general education courses drawing any majors into your program? Yes, to some extent. There are energetic people teaching these courses, and this does make a difference. Very few students come into the university seeking this program. We get our students once they come to campus. The program has a large number of minors because physical education students who are seeking teacher certification also seek endorsement in health education to increase their employability. Students in health education also seek endorsement in physical education. This is done by completing a minor. The program increased its GPA requirement to 2.75, so it is consistent with most of the other teacher certification programs on campus. A question was asked about how this will impact enrollment. What may happen is that students wonít get to the point of student teaching and then realize that they cannot complete the student teaching practicum. In the past, these students have switched to the contract major or the B.S. in Public Health programs. Only a few students have done this in the past. The physical education and health education degrees will have the same retention requirements. When students are removed from the program, do they stay at the university? These numbers are relatively small; a few, one or two a year, go into the contract major. We are now on equal footing with all the other teacher certification programs within the university.
One strength of the B.S. in Public Health program is that the program seems to be in the right place within the School of Nursing and Health Studies. There is a good match between the course design and learning outcomes. There is strong demand for this degree; enrollment has doubled in the last five years. Internships provide employment opportunities, and the student body is highly diverse with respect to ethnicity and reasonably diverse with respect to gender.
The one area for improvement is the assessment plan. All of the planís components are in place. The plan has been implemented; this just needs to be reported in the review.
Recommendations for the future are to maintain high enrollment, which will not be a problem; aim to make this program a first choice for students; and increase the number of graduates seeking advanced degrees. I donít know how making this a program of first choice for students fits with the change in the GPA requirement. Are you thinking about changing the GPA for this program? Making this a program of first choice links with our visibility. Students can learn about this program through the college advising process. Does the program have an enrollment target? One of the suggestions made by the subcommittee was to use target enrollment numbers as a benchmark. Our faculty can look at this. In public health there are many areas that students can go into for internship experiences. These are unpaid internships with mutual benefits for the students and the employers. There are many opportunities for students to continue their education, and this program provides a good stepping stone into graduate programs.
The strengths of the Master of Public Health program are that the program is well-served by its situation within the School of Nursing and Health Studies, there is strong demand, the costs have run below the statewide average, and the required internship provides employment opportunities. The program requirements include a capstone course, a comprehensive exam, and a six-hour internship in public health. The generalist track has been dropped. Dropping the generalist track seems to have worked out well for the two specializations in health promotion and health services management.
One of the discussion points is that enrollment has dropped during the review period. One factor is that foreign applications have ceased to translate into enrollment. The program is concerned about this. The year it dropped we had the same number of applications and acceptances that we had in the past, but far fewer students matriculated. There was a slight improvement in these numbers this year. We had five international students matriculate this year, and only one student matriculated last year. We are looking carefully at our delivery mechanisms. The program is looking at offering some online courses to help make this a more appealing degree to full-time employees. We are currently offering course work in Naperville, but we donít require that students be in a cohort. We are looking at having the students follow a lock-step program in the future. The enrollment numbers off campus are small; we had around 20 students in the past, but now there are approximately 10 students. Both specializations are offered off campus. Has the program thought about only offering one specialization off campus? Right now approximately 2/3 of the students are in the health promotion specialization and 1/3 are in the health services management specialization. This is a function of faculty skills to some extent. We have also met with public administration people, and the thought was that we should be looking at a combined public administration/health administration program. We are also looking at the accrediting organizationís standards for this type of program. The program might want to think about the continued feasibility of offering both specializations off campus. You could also consider alternating them or some other type of schedule. The CEPH report recommended that each specialization be supported by three full-time faculty. Currently the program has five faculty members for each specialization.
There are a few recommendations for the future. The program should make increasing enrollment and the number of men in the program priorities. Utilize program components for purposes of assessment as fully as possible, and cultivate alumni as potential resources for the program. Are there other things that could be done to attract students to the off-campus program? Our program is in the enviable position of having the most reasonably priced program in the area, and we need to say this. We are working on updating the brochures used for recruitment and the web site. The faculty are becoming more pro-active in recruiting students. Another plus that the program has going for it is that this is a traditional campus to come to.
A number of students are moving from the undergraduate to graduate program. The number of domestic students in the program has also increased. The program has already looked at its promotional materials. Are there large agencies needing more M.P.H.-level graduates that could help bring some students into the program? The environmental health practitioners have asked us for help. In the past we didnít have a person with this expertise on campus, but now we do. Think of agencies that have people at the bachelorís level who need to move toward the masterís level. Since the faculty has grown, the school has started to recruit our undergraduates into our masterís program. There is one faculty member in nursing and one in public health who teach in both programs. I believe that we will see some positive results from these activities.
Carolyn A. Cradduck