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The Newsletter of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies
February 2011

Message from the Dean,

Just as the three most important rules in real estate are location, location and location, the three most important words in higher education today are assessment, assessment and assessment.

There are several different reasons for this. One is for programs to determine whether or not their students are actually learning the material considered important for a graduate to know. Another is to identify potential holes in a curriculum that serves as the basis for resource reallocation. But perhaps the most critical reason in this fiscal climate is for accountability purposes - accountability to our students and accountability to those who pay the bills.

While there are various forms of assessment, the most commonly discussed form in the academy is called learning assessment. In this, a program will determine what are the specific knowledge, skills and abilities a student should possess while she or he progresses through the curriculum, how will the program measure if their students do in fact have those abilities, where in the curriculum those abilities are taught (this is termed curriculum mapping) and how will the program take the results of their assessments and refine, change, and improve upon the curriculum (this is termed continuous improvement).

Programs that are accredited are required by their accrediting agencies to conduct learning assessments as part of their accreditation process. For those programs not accredited, the university requires a learning assessment process as part of the Program Review Process that each program undergoes every five years.

I bring this to the attention of the Radford University Graduate College community because I want you to know that we take your learning very seriously. Gone are the days where professors would teach what they felt like, students would put in the effort they wished to and degrees would be awarded after a certain number of courses were passed. In today's accountability climate, you can be assured that what is being taught and what is being learned is directly related to a thoughtful consideration of what a professional needs to know to be successful in whatever endeavor she or he is undertaking.

To our alumni, please understand that our focus on assessment enhances the value of your degree. To our students and potential students, please also understand that your curriculum is carefully planned to provide the highest standard of education your profession expects. Your degrees are important to us. They are the coin of our realm and we take their quality very seriously.

Yours in the spirit of Highlander excellence,

Dennis Grady, Ph.D., Dean

physical therapy program achieves key accreditation benchmark
The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has awarded Radford Universityss new Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program "Candidacy Approval" in the multi-step accreditation process. Achieving this benchmark means the university can begin admitting its first class of students for the program, which will begin in June 2011. Read more.

ru magazine features pioneering dnp program
Rebecca Biersbach is one of 32 students studying in Radford University’s new Doctorate of Nursing Practice program. Read her story and more in the newest edition of The Magazine of Radford University.

students present at annual graduate student research forum
Flavonoids found in green tea and wine may have beneficial effects for individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, according to research Radford University student Amanda VanLaeken presented recently at the Sixth Annual Graduate Student Research Forum in Richmond. The Newark, N.Y., native was one of three Radford University graduate students who explained their research at the forum at the Library of Virginia. Read more.

teens can have “safe minds” thanks to ru program
Faculty members Linda Ely and Valerie Leake have a heart for helping troubled teens overcome substance abuse. They want the teens – and their families – to have “safe minds,” and a program at Radford University is providing just that. Read more.

friendship manor endows scholarship for new dpt program
Friendship Manor has awarded the first endowed scholarship for the Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program. The $30,000 award was announced in December. Read more.

bruce spends winter break conducting research in central america
Graduate student Maggie Bruce spent winter break researching teen pregnancy in rural Nicaragua. Read more.

communication sciences and disorders highlighted in video
Radford University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is featured in a new online video produced by the Virginia Council of Graduate Schools. The three-minute-plus video follows master’s graduate candidate Emily Goria through a day of hands-on learning at the university. “The greatest part about our program is that you do; you do what you’re learning,” says Goria in the video, describing the Communication Sciences and Disorders curriculum. Read more.

grad student, professor earn blue ridge prsa honors
Brent McConnell, a graduate student in the corporate and professional communication program, and Vince Hazleton, professor of communication and acting director of the School of Communication, earned top honors in the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s “Summit Awards” competition. Read more.

now presenting

artistry on display in virginia galleries
Radford University graduate art students recently gave audiences in Radford and Richmond an opportunity to experience their work. Read more.

dnp student ellen harvey selected as rising star of scholarship and research
Nurse Practitioner graduate student Ellen Harvey was recently selected as the RU representative for the Sigma Theta Tau International Rising Stars of Scholarship and Research. Harvey also was among a group of authors who recently published “The Impact of a Structured Education and Simulation Program on Failure to Rescue, Nurse Self-Confidence, and Knowledge in a Progressive Care Setting” in the November issue of Clinical Informatics in Nursing. Read more.

hall talks pressure ulcers in vegas
Doctorate of Nursing Practice student Kim Hall presented a clinical poster, "Innovative Treatment of Elbow Pressure Ulcers," at the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) Conference in February in Las Vegas. Hall, who will graduate in May, is also presenting her Radford University master's capstone project in a poster/modified podium presentation at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Conference this month in Baltimore. "The Effects of Silver Containing Alginate Primary Dressings Compared to Alginate Primary Dressings on the Healing of Chronic Venous Leg Ulcers" is the name of the project.

graduate student of the month:
Each month, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies features on its website a graduate student of the month. Click the links below to read Q&A interviews with students of the month for November, December and January.

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