New program in review by EMU Board of Regents

The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents discussed the new Physician Assistant program that is currently under review, at their Educational Policy Committee meeting on June 19.

EMU is in the process of receiving provisional accreditation for the program, which is slated to enroll their first matriculating class in May 2014.

“The discussion started approximately three years ago, but the work related to what was just approved today started approximately two and a half years ago,” Christine Karshin, director of the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance, said.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, is the accrediting agency that define the standards and evaluates the PA programs within the United States to ensure compliance.

If accredited, EMU will join Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and the University of Detroit Mercy as schools with accredited PA programs in the state of Michigan.

EMU will go through a site visit in April 2013, followed by an announcement by the ARC–PA as to whether the university has been approved for provisional accreditation.

“The overall national goal of the program is to have some generalist practitioners. So often primary care is what is heard and that is the access that many people need,” Jay Peterson, director of the physician assistant Program, said.

If approved, it is expected that the PA program will be offered as a full-time 24 month master of science degree program housed, in the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance.

Students will take part in intensive classroom learning and clinical rotations that will be offered at community local hospitals and private practices. In order to meet the requirements for the program, all applicants will need a bachelor’s degree and specific courses demonstrating a strong health care and science background.

“We are really excited about this, and we are excited about what we can offer to the students at Eastern Michigan University,” Peterson said.

The committee also announced five academic programs that have been slated for phase-out and deletion effective Fall 2012, as part of the Program Sustainability Review process.

The classes include the secondary education computer science major, the graduate certificate in artificial intelligence, the master of arts in mathematics – computer science, the master of science in physical education pedagogy – interdisciplinary adapted physical education concentration and the master of arts in sociology – family specialty concentration.

The university reviews academic programs every two years to determine what programs should move forward. All program additions and deletions are subject to approval by the Board of Regents.

“That review doesn’t always include deleting a program,” Rhonda Longworth, interim associate provost and associate vice president for Academic Programming and Support, said. “Those reviews tend to focus on how to keep them current and meeting the needs of the students, and marketing demands and to focus on improving and enhancing from that perspective. We do occasionally have to review programs that students are not enrolling in, or that are not working for one reason or another.”

Another item up for discussion was the reissue of charters for the Academy of Business and Technology (K-12) and Great Lakes Academy (K-7) charter schools. It was proposed that the president of the university issue a new five-year contract with an expiration date of July 1, 2017.

“We have eight charters and nine buildings. The way charter schools operate is we operate under a contract. Typically they receive a five-year contract. If [the schools] are not meeting the goals of the contract we will not renew them,” Malverne Winborne, director of EMU’s Charter Schools Office, said.

Seven professors were on hand to receive emeritus status from EMU: Jeffrey L. Duncan, Robert O. Holkeboer, Sarah Huyvaert, Russell R. Larson, Sheila M. Most, M. Gaie Rubenfeld and Alida S. Westman.

“[Emeritus] is an honorary status for people who have a certain number of years in service to the university, and we’re recognizing the contributions which they made over the long term to the success of students and the university in general,” Longworth said.

The emeritus status is available for employees who are moving out of full-time employment in order to provide them with a continuing honorary relationship with the university. With an emeritus faculty status they can keep their title and can continue to use the facilities of the university.

Although these individuals are not on full-time service with the university, they are able to keep their status and return to teach a class or two.

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