2015 has brought to Rollins new programs that will not only diversify our students, but also enrich our faculty, educational, and campus life. An undergraduate program in Healthcare Management and an interdisciplinary program for Public Policy and Political Economy has begun its broad curriculum this year. In Fall 2015 the new Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) and the new Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Analysis and Clinical Science programs (MAABACS) will be introduced. Here at Rollins, students have the privilege of an outstanding faculty, and these programs prove no different.
Dr. Chet Evans, a medical educator and physician executive for more than 25 years, began his work at Rollins in the summer of 2014, bringing his expertise in executive administration and health program development to the role of Executive Director of the Rollins Center for Health Innovation (CHI). CHI is integral in bringing innovative presentations to the Rollins community and the general public:
“Speakers and panelists of distinguished members of the healthcare community come to speak on various topics of current interest,” says Dr. Evans. “This popular format allows the audience the opportunity to interact with the panel and ask questions.”
Professor of Political Science at Rollins for 25 years Dr. Donald Davison, along with members of the Economics department, articulated the appeal for an interdisciplinary program in public policy in years past. Working closely with Dr. Phil Kozel from the Economics Department, the new major was introduced this Spring 2015 semester. What does the major Public Policy and Political Economy entail exactly? Dr. Davison reflects:
“The major in Public Policy and Political Economy examines how politics and economics intersect to produce public policies. The focus is upon solving practical problems such as funding education, reducing poverty, expanding health care, or relieving urban congestion. Students also will be exposed to the theoretical approaches used in economics and political science as tools to study and solve these current dilemmas in society. Further, students in public policy are well prepared for careers in law, business, and the financial services industries.”
How does the college approve new majors? The main reason is to broaden the choices that students have when considering their educational endeavors. The process is not as simple as most might believe; the major has to be reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee of the faculty governance system, where the faculty Executive Committee then evaluates it. Once approved, the proposition is deliberated and debated by the full faculty. Dr. Evans reflects on starting the Healthcare Management program:
“Just prior to my arrival here last summer, the Holt School had begun the development of a Healthcare Management (HCM) undergraduate major. This was being developed in response to a professional marketing and needs assessment contracted by Holt that involved not just the local community, but Holt School students and alums who had indicated that health programs strongly founded in liberal arts should be an integral part of Holt School offerings. A new Department of Health Professions was established in the College of Professional Studies to house the new programs and faculty. At the graduate level, three new programs were identified for development and those were public health, health services administration, and applied behavioral analysis. The Center for Health Innovation then went into high gear and amazingly we were able to develop all three and get them through all the approval processes and submitted to the regional accrediting agency before the 2014 Christmas break. Fall of 2015 is the launch date for the new Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) and the new Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Analysis and Clinical Science programs (MAABACS). Faculty members have been hired for both programs, and within a few weeks of this writing, prospective students will be able to attend info-sessions and apply to these programs though Holt. Due to logistical and several other reasons, the Master of Public Health (MPH) program will not offer its first class until the Fall of 2016. All of these programs have been designed in a way that they may be accredited by their various professional accrediting agencies as soon as possible. In addition, these programs will be delivered in executive style so that students can continue to work full time and attend blended learning classes Friday evening and Saturdays every other week. Graduates of the Holt Healthcare Management undergraduate program will be able to slide directly into these professional programs, providing a continuum of education to students who would otherwise have to leave Rollins to acquire these degrees.”
What could these new programs mean for the overall ambience of the campus and diversity of the school? Dr. Davison reflects upon this notion while considering the Public Policy Major:
“Although we hope current students will find the major attractive, we envision that international students, such as students from Jindal University (India), might find a home in the major. Jindal offers a graduate program in this field. Furthermore, we hope the major might lead business students and communications students to consider a second major. The quantitative and big data skills taught in this program are highly sought by employers particularly high tech businesses. Public relations experts often are expected to address the complexity of the types of practical programs we study and solve. The ability to understand and explain these issues is critical for many PR personnel representing governments and industry.”
In addition, Dr. Evans reflects on the impact the new Healthcare Management major will have on the Rollins College community:
“The programmatic nature of the Holt School lends to a very diverse and multicultural student body, that is more reflective of the Central Florida region. It is folks who are out in the workforce and now that they are stable, want to get or finish that undergrad college degree. It may be that successful two year college student who wants to get their baccalaureate, or it may be that doctor or nurse who wants to further their knowledge or move to an administrative position in public health or health administration by acquiring an MPH or an MHSA. Holt students are reflective of the diversity of the community around us, and the campus is naturally better for that multicultural presence.”
Overall, these new and exciting opportunities join the already implented areas of study here at Rollins and promise success for the community in the present and the future.