Comenius Center Prepares for Pivotal Year

As recent grads and established professionals pause to reconsider career paths in light of the changing economy, the Comenius Center is sharpening its own focus. This fall, the Center will launch several important new programs: a Master of Science program in nursing and a Master of Science degree in human resource management. Other key programs and projects also are being developed.

The timing is auspicious for the College and the community, but the programs were well underway before the economic crisis hit last year. "The College's strategic plan directed the Comenius Center to focus on graduate education and post-baccalaureate professional programs that have a foundation in the liberal arts," said Florence Kimball, dean of the Comenius Center. "But we want to do more than just provide new programs. Our plan is to serve students, the College, and the community by adding value in terms of education.

Master of Science Program in Nursing

The nursing program, which is affiliated with St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing, will feature three tracks: nurse educator, nurse administrator, and clinical nurse leader. The need for highly trained nurses and other health professionals is expected to surge within the community and nation as the general population ages and current health professionals retire.

"The new clinical nurse leader program is especially exciting," said Dean Kimball. "In our world of increasing specialization, a need has emerged for nurses to help coordinate patient care. Our clinical nurse leader track will be the only one of its kind in this area."

Master of Science in Human Resource Management

The MS-HRM recognizes the need for highly trained human resource professionals who do more than manage payroll and benefits. "Today, human resource managers are members of strategic teams. They advise trustees about legal issues, personnel allocation, and organizational positioning," noted Dean Kimball. "Until now, professionals in this area who wanted a masters in human resources had no place to go for it locally." The new degree will be the only masters in human resource management available within 60 to 70 miles.

"This is the perfect time to launch the program," said Dean Kimball. "Medical schools will be increasing their enrollment by 30 percent by 2015."

Other News

In addition, the existing Master of Education program will add new certifications for reading specialist and principal. Joseph A. Lewis, who was appointed director of graduate education certification programs last spring, has assumed primary responsibility for the development and administration of these and all other master's level teacher certification programs.

A new post-baccalaureate pre-medical preparation program (P4) also is underway, with a fall 2010 launch expected. Offered only in the evening, P4 will allow working adults who already have a bachelors degree to obtain the coursework and other preparation necessary to attend med school—even if their bachelors degree had been in an unrelated field. With the anticipated demand for new health care providers in the coming years, "this is the perfect time to launch this program," said Dean Kimball. "Medical schools will be increasing their enrollment by 30 percent by 2015. Many of the students will be older people who wish to change careers, or who have worked in an allied health field and now want to become doctors. This program will advise and prepare them."