These are exciting days in the Department of Health Sciences and in the College of Health Professions and Social Work. I arrived at FGCU in August 2013 after serving as Division Director of Environmental Health Sciences in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. Soon after arriving, I learned of the fall enrollment statistics for the Department. Not only have we seen stable growth in our graduate and limited-access program (Clinical Laboratory Sciences), but the Bachelor of Science in Health Science program has the highest enrollment in its history, and we are anticipating the possibility of more than 200 active majors in this program alone in the spring semester of 2014! Program enrollment in this major has nearly doubled over the last couple of years.
To accommodate this rapid growth, a new program director for the BS in Health Sciences program was appointed this past fall. The Clinical Laboratory Sciences program submitted a self-study and participated in a site visit pertaining to reaccreditation. Additional clinical sites for student practicum experiences are being actively recruited and the program has achieved 100% placement of its graduates in recent years. We anticipate continued program growth as new clinical practicum sites come online, as well as increased demand for our graduates since more clinical laboratories require four-year degrees for entering hires. The Department’s Anatomy & Physiology courses, required as prerequisites for many pre-clinical programs such as nursing and physical therapy, are witnessing the highest passing percentages and grade performance since analysis began several years ago. Course enrollment is approaching the maximum possible given current laboratory and classroom space availability. A&P instructional staff has now prepared all of the subject matter content texts used in both lecture and laboratory courses. One faculty member submitted a proposal this past fall to write a seminal textbook with a major academic publishing house and has now received a textbook contract with publication set for early 2016. The Department also hired a new full-time executive secretary to help support program development, assist current and prospective students, and coordinate admissions materials.
In the coming days and months, more exciting developments are anticipated. The Master of Science in Health Science program will have a one-year follow-up program review this year, with the next MSHS program review not anticipated for six more years. Several faculty in the Department are exploring the possibility of a study abroad program combining aspects of nutrition and environmental health, with the first program offering possibly occurring as soon as the summer of 2015. We are in the midst of the hiring process for a new faculty member with a specialization related to Health Services Administration, and thus we anticipate having an additional departmental faculty member on staff beginning in fall 2014. In addition to the creation of an inaugural newsletter, the Department is adding information and links to its website and will be expanding outreach activities to social media in the next few semesters. Future course offerings may include courses not previously taught and exciting program developments may be in store. Please consider sending contact information updates to the Department so that we can keep you informed as these developments occur. We hope that you are having a great year and look forward to bringing you exciting news in the near future.