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Board of Regents approves new health school and merger of Gladys L. Benerd School of Education

May 7, 2019

President Pamela A. Eibeck and Provost Maria Pallavicini announced today that the Board of Regents recently approved two new academic initiatives that position Pacific for strong enrollment growth.

The first is a new School of Integrated Health Professions (the current working name, formal name to be decided) and three inaugural health care programs: Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Master of Social Work. The second is the merger of the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education and University College (formal name to be decided) to form a new school focused on innovative educational programs with flexible pricing and delivery methods, including hybrid and online programs for working adults.

School of Integrated Health Professions
Nationwide, employment for health care occupations is projected to grow 18% from 2016-2026, outpacing growth in all other employment sectors. The School of Integrated Health Professions will position Pacific to respond to this need based on the university's strong reputation in health care education. Nursing, nutrition and social work were selected as the school's inaugural degree programs because similar programs in Northern California cannot meet current demand. The school is anticipated to house Pacific's programs in Athletic Training, Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Speech-Language Pathology.

Incoming students will benefit from interprofessional education where students work alongside and learn from peers in other health care programs. This will prepare them for clinical settings where health care professionals work in teams to provide patient care.

The three inaugural programs are scheduled to begin in fall 2020, and student recruitment will begin this summer. The health school will launch once a new dean is appointed next winter.

Gladys L. Benerd School of Education and University College merger
There is a tremendous regional need for K-12 teachers, educational leaders and professional development for educators. However, increased competition from lower-priced providers has led to decreased enrollments at the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education. Merging Benerd with University College will create a school that builds upon Pacific's reputation as an education leader and position the university to offer more innovative programs. 

By partnering with University College, Benerd will benefit from its resources, expertise and support for online teaching and learning, which is designed to meet the needs of the growing numbers of non-traditional students. University College will benefit from the academic quality, extensive experience and institutional knowledge of its faculty and administration. The Benerd and University College faculty unanimously endorsed the merger. University College Dean Patricia Campbell will serve as dean and Linda Webster, interim dean for Benerd, will serve as senior associate dean. The merger should be complete by fall 2020.

These innovations are the next milestones in the university's evolution to serve diverse populations of students. Thanks to all the senior leaders, faculty and staff whose tireless work and commitment have created these outstanding new initiatives that will position Pacific for a strong and vibrant future.


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