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June 7, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU trustees seek PASSHE academic program approvals

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Graduate students at Slippery Rock University could soon have two additional academic programs to choose from, including a master of science in nursing and a master of business administration, following unanimous action today by the University’s Council of Trustees.

Trustees agreed to ask the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors for permission to begin offering the programs. The programs, if fast-tracked at PASSHE, could begin by fall semester.

The University’s master of science in nursing would offer two tracks, one in leadership and administration, and one in school nursing. SRU’s department of nursing would offer the program.

The resolution seeking the master of science in nursing noted the program would increase graduate education opportunities for nursing in western Pennsylvania, increase the marketability of nursing in the region and prepare nursing leaders to address healthcare demands in the community and globally

The proposed school nurse option is expected to prove beneficial to school systems in the region and across Pennsylvania, where the trends show a projected need for additional nursing services at the school level.

The curriculum for the nursing programs was designed in accordance with the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commissions “2008 Standards and Criteria Master’s Degree/Post-Master’s Certificate Programs in Nursing,” the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s 2010 “Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing,” the Joint Position Statement on Nursing Administration Education presented by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, among others.

Graduates of the nursing programs will be eligible for national board certification.

SRU’s proposed MBA program, if approved by the state system, would be offered through SRU’s School of Business. It would be taught through a combination of traditional classroom instruction and online courses. Classes would be offered at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township.

The MBA program’s overall goal is to prepare professionals to advance their existing expertise in financial analysis, leadership and executive decision-making within the business community. The program is designed to support the needs of the financial services, manufacturing and business community.

Courses have been designed to enhance the workforce preparation for the Pennsylvania State High Priority Occupations in the business and financial service industry cluster. The degree will be offered with three tracks – accounting/finance, marketing/ management and a general MBA. The program is also expected to help graduates meet new Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants requirements for the CPA exam..

In other business, John Hicks, SRU professor emeritus, was elected to a one-year term as chair of the council, with Robert Taylor, a member of the PASSHE board of governors from New Hope, as vice chair, and Robert Marcus of Harrisburg as secretary.

Hicks, who retired from SRU after nearly 30 years of service in the College of Education, most recently served as vice chair of the council. He attended Brandeis University, John Carroll University, Kent State University and Penn State University.

He was a teacher, coach, and administrator in the schools of East Cleveland, Ohio, and was named "Coach of the Year" by the Cleveland Wahoo Club, following his baseball team winning the Ohio State Championship.

At SRU he served in several interim administrative positions, including dean, associate dean, director of continuing education, and in his final 11 years, as assistant to the dean of education.

As a trustee since 2007, he has served as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Council of Trustees. PACT is an organization comprised of members of the councils of trustees from each of the PASSHE’s 14 member universities.

Cheryl Norton, marking her first full year as president at SRU, told trustees, “I find myself somewhat surprised that a mere 368 days ago I was starting my first day of service to the University as your new president. The days…and nights…have flown by.”

“This has been a year of discovery and new pathways for the University and for Henry and me. As promised from the start, I spent the year learning as much as I could about Slippery Rock University, our community and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. I’ve met hundreds of the students and faculty that are the heart and soul of SRU. Through college leadership meetings, student meetings and formal and informal lunches and dinners, I’ve commenced many mutually rewarding relationships and learned a great deal. I’ve visited several states to talk with our alumni and donors, to hear their stories and share their love of the University,” she said.

“I’ve taken students to Harrisburg to advocate for higher education funding and have hosted members of the legislature on campus to reinforce the truisms, ‘public universities serving the public good, require public support,’ and that an investment in education, particularly at Slippery Rock University, pays off ten-fold for the commonwealth socially, culturally and economically,” Norton said.

“SRU remains an institution of quality, committed to excelling as a caring community of lifelong learners connecting the world. This is not just our opinion. It is fact validated by numerous external associations that have named us a College of Distinction, one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation, one of the best Universities in the Northeast, one of the safest colleges in the nation, and just last month, one of the Healthiest Employers in Western Pennsylvania,” she said. “Our therapeutic recreation program recently became only the fourth such program in the country to earn accreditation and the McLachlan Student Health Center earned three-year accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Nationwide, less than 20 percent of University Health Centers are accredited.”

Norton told trustees enrollment and budget remain “top of mind” for the University. “We are in a highly-competitive marketplace due to declining demographics.”

“One needs to remember that enrollment and budget are intrinsically linked,” she said.

“The spring semester saw SRU students continue the University’s long tradition of service. SRU students offered hurricane relief in small towns throughout New Jersey, presented ‘anti-bullying’ programs in area schools, cared for unwanted animals at local shelters, donated hundreds of pints of blood, raised $52,096 for St. Jude’s hospital and contributed more than 5,000 pounds of food to the local food bank. For the past decade, Slippery Rock University students have been lending a hand to help restore the once-decaying mill town of Braddock. Students returned this year to work alongside the North Braddock Volunteer Fire Department and students from Pikeville, Ky., to help revitalize the community,” she said.

Norton said The Rocket, the student newspaper at Slippery Rock University, garnered 34 awards from five regional and national journalism associations for work done by its editors and contributors in 2012-13. The Rocket was one of three newspapers nationwide to be named Most Outstanding University Newspaper for 2012-13 by the American Scholastic Press Association.

She cited a number of faculty and student achievements, including Kortnee Koziara, a biology major from Strattanville, and Amber Lellock, a biology major from Rosssiter, who received first place awards at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania University Biologist Meeting; Jared Figel, a senior history and philosophy major from Mars, who received first place for his paper, “A Critical Response to Richard Swinburne,” and Benjamin Zeiger, a junior psychology and philosophy major from New Castle, who received a third-place honor for his paper “God and Forgiveness: A Critique,” at the 26th annual conference of the PASSHE Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy and Religious Studies. Norton also listed a number of recent student athletic accomplishments.

In routine matters, trustees voted to approve the contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports as presented.

The council was informed of two visiting international exchange faculty appointments, including Sungho Chung from Kangwan National University and Liping Zhang from Nanjing University, both in the modern languages and cultures department. In addition new faculty for fall semester, new state university administrator appointments and support staff appointments were presented.

Trustees were informed of three June retirements, including Constance Foley, seven-year vice president for student affairs; Joseph Lisciandro, 37-year assistant professor of professional studies and interdisciplinary studies; and Steven Rodriguez, 29-year utility plant operator 2 in facilities and planning.

Council’s next session will be Sept. 26-27.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.