LAFAYETTE — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette received conditional approval Thursday for a new bachelor’s program in health services administration and the state’s only graduate certificate program in nonpublic school administration.
The Louisiana Board of Regents approved both programs at its meeting Wednesday.
The College of Education’s five-course, 15-credit graduate certificate in nonpublic school administration is unique to the state, according to a Board of Regents staff report to the board.
The staff reported that nationally only the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York offers a “non-public school leadership focus.”
The certificate program is tailored to non-public school issues, including board management, laws, tuition and fundraising, said Paula Montgomery, associate dean of ULL’s College of Education
The need for such a program was identified by Charles Skipper, headmaster of Episcopal School of Acadiana, and grew from brainstorming sessions with stakeholders, Montgomery said.
With more than 50 nonpublic schools that teach about 17,000 students and employ 1,500 people in Acadiana, “We thought it would be a good idea to tailor something that would address their specific needs,” Montgomery said.
The certificate requirements can be completed within a year, she said.
Initial enrollment is projected at 15 students, and adjunct faculty will be used to teach the courses at an estimated cost of $4,000 annually, according to the staff report.
The university’s newest bachelor’s program, health services administration, is within the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions and addresses the college’s retention issues and workforce development needs in the health-care industry, according to the staff review.
The first three semesters for nursing and the new program are the same, which will allow students to transfer to the new major without losing credit, said Carolyn Bruder, ULL provost and vice president of academic affairs.
The university reported to the Regents that annually about 40 qualified nursing majors are unable to secure spots in hospitals or medical clinics to obtain “real world” training in a specific medical field such as obstetrics. Known as “clinicals,” they are a necessary step to complete a nursing degree.
Only a set number of clinical spots are available and students are selected based on their GPA, Bruder said.
“We get calls from people with a 3.2 (grade point) average who spend the semester trying to build up their GPA and end up in other degrees just to get out,” Bruder said.
The students who can’t get a clinical spot either declare another major or leave ULL to enroll in other nursing programs, the staff report stated.
“This will give them a more viable employment future,” Bruder said of the new program. “It would still allow them to stay in the world of health care.”
The start-up cost for the program is estimated at $1,500 since existing faculty and resources may be used, according to the staff review.
As the program grows, a department head and three new instructors will be hired, according to the report. By year five, expenses are estimated at $260,792, but will be offset by student tuition and fees, according to the report.
The new options are in response to community and student needs, Bruder said.
“These programs grew out of our program review process through which we eliminated some programs and created new ones that we thought were more responsive to student needs and the job market,” Bruder said.