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March 2006 Issue

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Allied Health 'Gets Creative' to Manage Growth

Published March 2006

In the last five years, UC's College of Allied Health Sciences has nearly tripled its enrollment--from 470 students in 2000 to more than 1,260 in 2005. And the college anticipates the number to increase again for fall 2006.

Although distance learning has played a major role in attracting more students, off-campus students account for only about half of the increase.

"Across the board, there are shortages in many of the allied health professions that we train students for," says Elizabeth King, PhD, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences. "We're proud to be doing our part to fill that need with our graduates, but we recognize that we must 'get creative' in order to accommodate and best serve the influx of students."

And the college has done just that.

In an effort to add more teaching space, one of the computer labs in the French East building was transformed into a full-time classroom. But understanding the tremendous need for computer technology, the college applied for and won a grant that was used to buy a mobile laptop cart. With French East's wireless internet capabilities, instructors can now set up a temporary computer lab in any classroom.

The college has also made many classrooms streaming-video compatible. More lectures can now be posted online for distance learning programs in clinical laboratory sciences, health information management and speech-language pathology--designed specifically for a group of students traveling between New York and Israel.

Classrooms have also become more interactive with the installation of personal response systems--a technology designed to allow students to actively participate in class through real-time feedback on a device similar to a television remote control.

High-tech tools in the classroom aren't the only new advantages for allied health students. The college has put a major focus on community engagement--so much so that many academic programs are integrating community projects and experiential learning into the curriculum.

"We really view this growth not only as a challenge, but also as a great opportunity," says Dr. King. "The contributions of our faculty have really made such enormous growth possible.

"This exciting time has really forced us to explore new ways to educate our students and has opened our eyes to many chances to form partnerships outside UC," she adds. "Creative application of technology and greater opportunities for community engagement are becoming integrated into our curriculum."

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