Commission recommends SSU program expansion

By Wayne Allen

February 3, 2014

By Wayne Allen

The recommendations of the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission were recently released. Among the commissions recommendations is $4 million in funding for Shawnee State University for a health sciences program expansion.

“This (Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission) is a collaborative process that has been good for higher education,” Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU President, said in a released statement.

According to released information from SSU, the $4 million will allow the the university to expand health science programs to meet the workforce needs of the region.

In released information SSU outlined why the expansion is necessary, “the proposed project would allow Shawnee State University to increase capacity in health science programs by providing necessary classroom and laboratory space, meeting the demands of regional hospitals and health care providers. Enrollment in these programs is now restricted due to lack of space.”

Current health science programs offered by SSU include, a master’s of occupational therapy, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant, nursing, athletic training, respiratory therapy, radiologic technology, dental, medical laboratory, and emergency medical technology programs.

“We are committed to expanding programs to meet the workforce needs of our region. Our proposed project to increase our capacity in health science and related STEM courses will help us meet the demands of our hospitals and health care providers,” Morris said.

According to SSU this recommendation of $4 million is more than they received in capital funding in the last biennium.

In the biennium, 2013-14 SSU received $2.14 million to be used for the Founder’s Plaza and classroom/lab renovation. A new math lab is the administrative building was apart of this project.

In December SSU along with other colleges and universities from around Ohio submitted their six-year capital plans to the Higher Education Capital Funding Commission for funding consideration.

SSU submitted five projects to the commission for potential funding. Projects included, phase two and three of a workforce development and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related discipline initiative to expand and enhance high demand health science programs.

The commissions recommendations will now be sent to the governor for consideration when developing a budget to present to the General Assembly.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT