Expanded Waldron College faculty family gathers to open 2019-20 academic year
The Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS) began a new chapter in its history on Aug. 17, 2019 when it welcomed its expanded faculty family for the 2019-20 academic year all-college meeting in the Hurlburt Center Auditorium.
More than 150 WCHHS faculty and staff representing eight schools and departments convened to prepare for the upcoming semester. Faculty and staff from Radford University Carilion (RUC) joined colleagues from the Radford University main campus and the Roanoke Higher Education Center for an introduction to the new WCHHS, its programs and one another.
“We are so excited about the addition of Radford University Carilion,”said President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., as he joined Dean Ken Cox, Au.D., and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenna Colley, Ed.D., for the session. “We have two locations and one culture. We are excited about what this means for our students, community, region and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
President Hemphill highlighted Radford’s intention to contribute to alleviating the critical shortage and responding to the high demand for healthcare professionals.
The President also briefed the WCHHS faculty on a variety of other campus-wide activities, such as senior leadership searches, legislative outreach activities, the Highlander Family Tour and the upcoming Highlander Discovery Institute inaugural event on Thursday, Sept. 19.
With the addition of RUC, Waldron College will now include two schools (social work and nursing) and six departments (clinical health professions, communication sciences and disorders, public health and healthcare leadership, occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies).
“It means so much to me to say we are at this point," said School of Nursing (SON) Interim Dean Iris Mullins, Ph.D., as she outlined what the SON looks like now as it enters a new phase of its storied history. "We are now one school with a very talented and dedicated faculty and sites here, at the Roanoke Higher Education Center and at RUC.”
Sarah Smidl, Ph.D., interim chair of the Occupational Therapy (OT) department, reviewed the dramatic growth in the OT program that has occurred as a result of the creation of RUC.
Smidl said in Jan. 2018, the Radford Master of Occupational Therapy program included six faculty, one staff member and 60 students in three cohorts in one master’s program. Now, according to Smidl, the “new and improved” OT program has 173 students at two sites in three programs with 21 faculty and adjunct instructors.
Colley reflected on the WCHHS’ new look, saying, ”These are such exciting additions to our already strong programs, to our academic profile and to our work toward meeting the University’s strategic plan goal of becoming a leader in healthcare education and training professionals in the region and beyond.”