By Ashlee Gray
Last fall semester, St. Bonaventure University approved the addition of a new academic school: The School of Health Professions.
The program has grown exponentially, but there is little information available to current students. Douglas Pisano, Ph.D, dean of the School of Health Professions, discussed the future of Bonaventure students interested in entering the health field.
The degrees that will be offered are still unknown. Pisano, Claire Watson and Monica Thomas, Ph.D., have been working hard to get the programs running. Pisano is currently developing a proposal for the undergraduate division within the school. Establishing new bachelor programs is not a quick process; each program must be approved by the university and New York state, said Pisano.
“It’s not hard work, it’s just work that has to get done,” Pisano said. “I suspect we will have a number of these programs up and running by September 2018. The rest will come within a year.”
Pisano explained that the new School of Health Professions will offer more specific programs in the future.
“At this point, we are beginning to develop proposals for an undergraduate division within the school which will include courses like health sciences, public health, medical security and nursing,” Pisano said. “As for the graduate side, we’re are working on offering masters in healthcare leadership, healthcare administration and public health, as well as offering physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, doctorate in physical therapy and family nurse practitioner degree.”
Many of the introductory classes will be the same for biology, sports studies and health science majors, but faculty must also build courses that are specific to each new program.
“There are a lot of similar courses that need to be taught. The directors that are building the new programs will have a list of courses already offered by St. Bonaventure that can be used,” said Pisano.
After the courses that are already available at Bonaventure are identified, the directors will then determine which additional courses need to be created to achieve the credits required for the degree. Most of the faculty are already employed by St. Bonaventure, but for newer programs like nursing and physician assistant studies, Pisano said the school will have to hire new faculty.
Although the School of Health Professions offers students the opportunity to pursue a career in the health field, Pisano cautions, “Students that wish to go medical dental or veterinary school they should go through the biology department and get a degree in biology.”
Biology and life science majors make up the majority of students that continue on to medical and dental schools. The health science major is available for those interested in other health fields.
The new School of Health Professions is also opening the university to more perspective students. Additionally, the graduate programs are expected to draw in potential students from all over the country.
“I think that these programs will attract students that are looking to go to St. Bonaventure but have not found a program that they are particularly interested in,” Pisano said. “I think that some of the graduate programs in the beginning will attract St. Bonaventure alumni, but as they take off, we’ll start seeing people from all over the country that are interested.”
The competition to get into a graduate program is often petrifying, but Pisano said that he, “wanted to make sure to leave enough spaces for Bonaventure students and then accept students from elsewhere to fill the remainder of the spaces.”