SU creates new College of Health and Human Services


Salisbury University has created a College of Health and Human Services, expected to launch in the fall and become the largest academic unit on campus, with nearly 2,200 students.

The new college will house three schools, Nursing, Social Work and Health Sciences.

Dr. Kelly Fiala, transitional dean, said organizers are “looking forward to the synergy created among our exercise physiology, sports medicine, injury prevention and wellness-related programs within the new college.”

Dr. Jeffrey Willey will lead the new School of Nursing.

The Maryland Board of Nursing ranks SU as having the highest 10-year average pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses of all institutions in the Maryland system. SU topped all B.S. and B.S.N.-granting programs in the state.

“Despite this stellar achievement, our nursing program is one of the very few at four-year institutions in Maryland that is not in a college or school of nursing or healthcare,” Willey said.

Dr. Deborah Mathews will head the new School of Social Work.

“The Social Work Department has the largest graduate program on campus. This realignment will enable us to collaborate more easily with colleagues and expand inter-professional programming. It also may help in securing grants or creating continuing education programs in areas such as addiction and substance abuse,” Mathews said.

Dr. Robert Joyner will lead the Health Sciences School.

It will include programs in applied health physiology, athletic training, community health, exercise science, fitness and wellness, medical laboratory science and respiratory therapy.

“This unique combination of programs connects daily health maintenance with frontline medical care, positioning SU as a leader in interprofessional education for students interested in these fields,” Joyner said.

SU’s Respiratory Therapy Program produces the largest number of baccalaureate graduates in the country, and its director recently completed a two-year term as president of the National Board of Respiratory Care. The Medical Laboratory Science Program serves a high workforce demand in Maryland, as do many other health care programs. SU’s Community Health Program has experienced burgeoning enrollments in the past few years and plans to extend to Hagerstown, according to the SU news release.

The College of Health and Human Services was suggested by faculty in the Henson School of Science and Technology and the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies.

“They were looking for more efficient and effective ways for their disciplines to collaborate and achieve common goals,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach.

“I believe their vision and desire to better serve students and the community will benefit academic programs across campus. I applauded their initiative,” she said.

The reorganization of the new college will allow the Henson School to focus on STEM disciplines. The Seidel School will concentrate on teacher education and leadership development, all critical workforce needs, according to the news release.

The College of Health and Human Services is the second college to be established at SU. The first was the Honors College in 2016.

The university has no plans to change existing schools into colleges. Instead, it will have a mixed school-college structure, found at peer institutions, the press release states.

Restructuring academic programs reflects the importance of fields as Maryland, and the nation, grapple with the the opioid epidemic, the Baby Boomer generation and rural health care needs, the news release states.

The health care industry is expected to be the largest job sector in the country during the next three years. The country has experienced nursing shortages for decades, but an aging population means the problem is about to worsen. Currently, 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day.

The Eastern Shore is aging faster than the rest of Maryland. With two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries suffering from multiple chronic conditions, the demand for nursing and other health care services will soar, according to a GrayShore study by SU’s Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network.

“This new college will more strongly connect many programs that have natural affinities, similar processes such as clinical and certification requirements, and shared goals,” said Dr. Karen Olmstead, interim provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

“It also places SU in line with university administrative structures which are the norm across the country,” she said.


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