SUNY Empire State College was awarded $400,000 to develop a Bachelor of Science degree program in health science, a new program that will contribute to achieving SUNY’s system-wide completion agenda of awarding 150,000 degrees each year by 2020, officials said.
Modeled after the college’s successful RN-to -B.S. in Nursing program, SUNY Empire’s new bachelor’s degree will provide a clear, direct and efficient path for radiologic technicians, emergency medical technicians, dental hygienists, physical therapy assistants and many others who have earned an associate and want to complete their bachelor’s degree, according to the college.
“The B.S. in health science is the latest example of SUNY Empire’s dedicated faculty and staff using innovative, alternative and flexible approaches to higher education that transform people and communities through rigorous programs that connect individuals’ unique and diverse lives to their personal learning goals,” said Associate Professor Kim Stote, who was a member of the team that developed the successful proposal. “The B.S. in health science is designed to promote seamless academic progression for students moving from the associate to completion of a bachelor’s degree.”
Graduates of this program can become direct-care providers, managers, educators or individuals focused on state-population health issues.
“The program will also take advantage of the college’s partnerships with SUNY’s community colleges and several hospitals and health-care organizations throughout the state,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Having this new bachelor’s degree in place will mean more and better job prospects for people working in health care, and their families, across the state. Better-educated employees, in turn, will mean improved health care for New Yorkers.”
The college’s School of Nursing already has articulation agreements with 26 of SUNY’s 30 community colleges. Part of the new program calls for the college to work with its current community college partners to extend the agreements to include health sciences.
Officials said the college will leverage other existing partnerships which currently provide a path to degree completion for radiologic technicians, including at Catholic Health System on Long Island, Glens Falls Hospital, Hudson Mohawk Health Education Center in Glens Falls, New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, Peconic Bay Medical Center Radiology in Riverhead, Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs and Champlain Valley Radiology, in order to begin the process of scaling up the new program across the state.
Resources for SUNY Empire’s new program come from the SUNY system’s newly established Investment and Performance Fund and were awarded through a competitive, system-wide process.
The college’s proposal was one of 32 selected for funding.
According to the state Department of Labor:
• The fastest growing occupations in New York state are health-care related; these include physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, diagnostic medical sonographers, health educators and dental hygienists.
• More than 3 million jobs in health care are forecast to be created in the period from 2010- 2018, resulting largely from the aging of the population.
• From February 2013 to February 2014 in the state of New York, there was an increase of more than 40,000 jobs in the health-care and educational sectors.
The college’s health science degree is designed as an upper-level bachelor’s degree completion program and begins in the third year of a student’s studies, after the completion of the associate’s degree.
Students learning on a full-time basis can expect to complete the college’s program in two years.
The college anticipates enrolling students in the new program beginning in the fall of 2017.
More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.