The University of Connecticut’s Waterbury campus is slated to introduce a new major in Allied Health Sciences beginning in the fall of 2020, according to UConn Today.
Students will have the option to either complete two years of their undergraduate degree at Waterbury and then transfer to Storrs, or remain at the Waterbury campus and earn their degree there, the article said.
Angela Brightly, the senior associate director at the Waterbury campus, said the addition of the major came from a growing number of students who express interest in pursuing a health care-related career.
“We have a great connection with our community here in Waterbury with our hospitals and health agencies, so it seemed to all come together with what our students are looking to study,” Brightly said. “It is a broad program that covers a lot of interests and needs in the health field.”
Faculty at the branch introduced a survey to students in order to assess whether or not the Allied Health Sciences field would be of interest to add to the growing list of programs, Brightly said.
“We have about 46 percent of our entering Waterbury freshmen who are enrolled in majors that are related to the Allied Health Sciences field,” Brightly said.
The university hopes to hire an assistant professor-in-residence faculty member next fall, as well as an additional in the fall of 2021. Should the program expand, the university will also look to hire two more tenure-track faculty in the fall of 2022, according to UConn Today.
Jamie Caruso, the director of special programs at the Waterbury campus, is on the search committee for a faculty member to add to the campus by fall 2020 and said she hopes the degree will open new doors for students from all walks of life.
“The Allied Health Sciences program is really a flexible undergraduate degree that could prepare students to go on to programs like medical school and nursing,” Caruso said.
Caruso said having the Allied Health Sciences major at the Waterbury campus will allow students with financial struggles to earn their degree at less of a cost than they would elsewhere.
“One of the things we talked about was our students here being place-bound. They can’t afford to go up to Storrs or go to another school,” Caruso said. “They can complete not only their undergraduate degree but potentially a post-baccalaureate degree in Waterbury.”
Allied Health encompasses a majority of the professions in healthcare not including doctors, dentists or nurses. Professionals often work in teams to assess treatment and preventative measures for individuals with health issues, according to HealthTimes.
Health care occupations are projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, which should add about 2.4 million jobs. The primary reason for the jump is the growing health care demand of the aging population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Caruso hopes that giving Allied Health Sciences students the option to complete their degree at the Waterbury campus will establish a system where upperclassmen can also help younger entering students with their classes.
“We are hoping that we will get students who could serve as student tutors in some of these STEM courses,” Caruso said. “We would be able to keep those students for four years as opposed to recruiting these tutors and then having them leave after two years to then finish their degree somewhere else.”
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.