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Sept. 1, 2015
Northwest Missouri State University celebrated the opening of its School of Health Science and Wellness Tuesday with a grand-opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting, ushering in a new era of profession-based education at the University.
Northwest’s Board of Regents gave the University its approval in June to launch the School. Beginning this fall, the academic entity is operating as a free-standing, interdisciplinary unit.
The school brings together 33 health science and wellness programs that previously were spread across multiple departments at the University. The programs are designed to prepare students to pursue graduate studies in health sciences as well as manage and provide preventative health and wellness care and services.
Previously, the school was known as the Department of Health and Human Services and operated within the structure of Northwest’s College of Education and Human Services. Now, its curriculum and instruction originates from a variety of areas including the departments of Natural Science and Behavioral Sciences.
“This just didn’t come about,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “We’ve been listening. We’ve been learning. We’ve been gathering information from a variety of inputs, and it was very clear that there are significant education needs across health science and wellness.”
Programs offered through the School of Health Science and Wellness include:
Graduates of the new school will work in a wide variety of health-related fields including health communication, health coaching, nutrition and dietetics, health information management, athletic training, patient advocacy, sport psychology and therapeutic recreation. The school also offers pre-professional opportunities to serve clinical programs and professional schools for healthcare practitioners including doctors, nurses and medical technologists.
“I believe it’s a better way to serve students, and that’s what we’re really all about,” said Dr. Matt Symonds, the director of the School of Health Science and Wellness. “We’re focused on student success, and I think this helps us better serve the needs of students that come to Northwest or will come to Northwest in the future.”
Symonds added, “It’s just not about getting students here, but it’s how can we help them be successful once they get here. I’m really excited about the potential the school will allow us.”
Dr. Patrick Harr, the chair of Northwest’s Board of Regents also was on hand for the opening ceremony. Harr spent 38 years practicing medicine in Maryville and served as a volunteer physician for Northwest athletics teams before retiring in 2012. He attended and studied pre-medicine at Northwest before completing his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“We didn’t have advisors for our profession. We just kind of hung out in biology and chemistry hoped for the best,” Harr said of Northwest’s pre-medicine program while he attended during the early 1960s. “I’m really excited and honored to be a part of a program that’s going to bring more students in to the health profession.”
Although the school structure is new to Northwest, professional schools are not new to higher education, Northwest Provost Dr. Timothy Mottet explained. A professional school is an academic unit that aligns itself with a portfolio of professional careers. The structure also enhances the ability of faculty to engage with students in profession-based education.
“Profession-based education occurs when an institution commits to making graduates are career ready on day one, which means they have the intellectual, emotional, social and experiential preparation necessary to face, tackle and solve complex problems on the first day of employment,” Mottet said.
Academic leaders also noted it is fitting that the academic school is headquartered in Martindale Hall on the Northwest campus’ southern edge. Martindale Hall is located adjacent to the new Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center and the Lamkin Activity Center, which houses the facilities and offices of Northwest’s Department of Athletics.
“One thing that Northwest does very well is we have very strong academics and we have very strong athletics,” Mottet said. “Any time that you can merge strong academics and strong athletics together, you’re creating something that I think is unique and rare. Northwest has done that incredibly well.”
For more information about the School of Health Science and Wellness, call 660.562.1297 or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/health/.
Northwest is a four-year university that offers a broad range of profession-based undergraduate and graduate programs offered in Maryville as well as locations in Kansas City and St. Joseph.
Northwest is ranked as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri on U.S. News and World Report’s list of “2015 Best Colleges” and is one of only four four-year institutions in Missouri to meet all measures of the state’s performance-based funding initiative during the past three years.
The University, founded in 1905, boasts a 59 percent graduation rate, which is about 20 percent higher than the national average. In addition, 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data.
While the Northwest campus also is designated the Missouri Arboretum, its vibrant and diverse learning community offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the state, saving students an estimated $7,200 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468