Salisbury University will undertake a major reorganization, creating a new college and a new school to adapt to greater workforce needs in health care, the university announced Tuesday.
The new College of Health and Human Services aims to improve how students will be able to address Maryland’s aging population, opioid crisis and rural health needs, beginning this fall.
The programs were brought together under the new college to increase efficiency and improve inter-professional education that would simulate a work environment, said Karen Olmstead, the university’s interim provost.
“If a person outside the campus was looking for a point person on health care and social services program, it wouldn’t be easy to find that person,” she said. “(Bringing these programs together) allows us to replicate the clinical environment that people actually work in.”
The College of Health and Human Services will be Salisbury University’s second college, joining the university’s Honors College. The new college, which will be the university’s largest, will include three schools: the school of nursing, school of social work and the school of health sciences. Salisbury expects the schools to educate 2,200 of the university’s roughly 9,000 students.
Nursing and social work will include degree programs in those fields. The health sciences school will include programs of applied health physiology, athletic training, community health, exercise science, medical laboratory science, respiratory therapy and fitness wellness.
“This unique combination of programs connects daily health maintenance with frontline medical care, positioning (Salisbury) as a leader in inter-professional education for students interested in these fields,” said Robert Joyner, who will head up the health sciences school.
The reorganization will also allow the university’s existing schools to narrow their focus. The university said it does not plan to turn these schools into colleges.
The Henson School of Science & Technology, which currently includes nursing programs and laboratory science programs, would focus more specifically on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Samuel W. & Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education & Professional Studies currently includes the social work and sports sciences programs and will now focus on teacher education.
“I think that that will allow (those schools) to stay in those lanes, which are equally important for workforce,” Olmstead said.
The university has been working on the restructuring for almost four years, when Kelly Fiala, then a leader of the athletic training department when it was in the education school, suggested it would be better for her students to interact with other health students, like nursing students, in other schools.
Fiala will be the transitional dean of the new college, which the university hopes will entice a beneficiary to name the college.
The University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved the restructuring last year, and the university has been working to finalize the logistics of the change ever since. Tasks have included streamlining reporting methods, moving resources, finding space and even changing how courses will be coded in the university’s system.
For help, Salisbury leaned on other universities that had recently completed similar restructurings, like the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Marshall University.
“They just really walked through all the organizational challenges that would have to be addressed,” Olmstead said.