SRU trustees vote to approve creation of College of Health Professions
From left, William Behre, president of Slippery Rock University; John Bonaguro, founding dean of the College of Health Professions; and Matt Lautman, chair of the SRU council of trustees, meet following the trustees special meeting, Aug. 13, to approve the proposed creation of the SRU College of Health Professions.
Aug. 13, 2021
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University's College of Health Professions is now official. The SRU council of trustees conducted a special meeting, Aug. 13 in the Smith Student Center, and unanimously voted to approve the creation of the University's fifth college, the College of Health Professions. The new college, which will start no later than the fall of 2022, will be largely comprised of existing academic departments currently housed within the College of Health, Engineering and Science. The approval of the college currently does not correlate with the addition of any new academic programs.
Earlier this year, SRU announced the proposed forming of the College of Health Professions and the hiring of the college's founding dean, John Bonaguro. The council received information and discussed the change at its regular quarterly meetings in March and June, before conducting a workshop July 9 to seek input from the campus community and ask questions of administrators and faculty related to impact of establishing a new college.
"There is a lot of complexity to this issue and the way that we took it in committee (in March and June), and then in our workshop in July, allowed members of our council the opportunity to ask questions (...) and then ultimately reach a conclusion that each trustee was satisfied with," said Matthew Lautman, chair of the trustees. "It took some time and patience that are appreciated by (the trustees)."
SRU administrators said establishing a new college will enhance SRU's visibility among employers and prospective students, as well as create greater organizational efficiencies and more concentrated leadership. The current College of Health, Engineering and Science consists of 158 full- and part-time faculty and programs that enroll 3,438 full- and part-time students. Each of those headcounts exceed a third of all faculty and students, respectively. Among the new programs added in the last five years are graduate programs in health informatics and public health, along with the physician assistant and occupational therapy programs.
"This move helps position the University to take advantage of our growing programs in the health professions," said William Behre, SRU president. "Not only have we added programs in these areas but there's a great need for skilled health care professionals. Health care companies such as Allegheny Health Network, UPMC and Highmark rank in the top 10 among employers of SRU alumni. Establishing this college gives us even more of a foothold in the region and strengthens the recognition of SRU as a leader in preparing students for health care jobs that are in demand."
Beyond name recognition, the logistics of forming a college involve the creation of a dean's office. Bonaguro was hired in an interim capacity to oversee the transition until a new dean is hired by the time college is operating in the fall of 2022.
"Creating a new college unifies the different academic programs together in one place," Bonaguro said. "It gives us greater visibility and outreach and makes us more attractive to our constituents, but it is also cost effective as well. This means more efficient administration where you would otherwise have many separate departments and it also means better advising, articulation agreements, affiliations and other benefits that would be lost without a centralized focus of leadership."
The specific academic departments that will make up the new college have yet to be determined.
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