By: CHRISTINA CLARK
Of all the changes in Northside, one might not have realized that an entire department has made quite a bit of ground in the last year: The College of Health Sciences.
The school, which was established in 2015, continues to grow with new offerings for students of every major. Two new majors in its program rolled out this year: health promotion and sport and exercise science, along with a minor in billing and coding.
“We rolled out the health sciences program in 2015, and then, following that, we rolled out the sports sciences program this year, in 2016,” said Ian Clift, program director of health sciences. “It’s the first year and we already have a very successful group of students coming in.”
Clift has helped get the department off to a running start.
“We already have roughly 60 students just for that one major alone [sports sciences program], and two programs together have over 100 students within one year of operation,” Clift said about the program’s momentum.
While forming the school, a lot of research had to be done on the market, area and needs of the students and field.
“Before the program was established, there was a lot of investigation. What does the community need? What kind of programs are people looking for? What kinds of programs are employers looking for?” explained Clift.
“The College of Health Sciences was established thanks to a generous gift from Vera Z. Dwyer, one of the largest, in fact, the largest in IUSB history. The $5.85 million gift was something she wanted to see used as an expansion of the Nursing Program, as well as an expansion into other health sciences.”
With the birth of the new College of Health Sciences, the new majors and minor, along with some in development, have been brought out.
“We’re a part of a cluster of programs under the new Health Sciences and the programs were separated from the nursing programs,” said Clift.
There are now two schools under the umbrella of health sciences, the nursing school and the applied health sciences, which also include radiography and dental hygiene.
“We’re expanding into more tracks as well. Clinical laboratory science is the next thing coming down the pipe, and I’ve been slated to direct that in 2017,” said Clift.
The College of Health Sciences is offering five different minors, as well, open to students on campus to supplement their majors. They include billing and coding, health systems leadership, sport and exercise science, health promotion, and nutrition. With the newest of the five, billing and coding, the goal is to have those who complete the minor be able to sit for certification exams, if they follow a certain path with their advisor.
“Our internship partnerships and our courses—such as Introduction to Health Sciences, a 100-level course open to anybody on campus—are a great way for students to get their feet wet and understand what is available in health sciences, but they’ll also be introduced to a lot of different people in the community to come speak to them,” said Clift.
The school emphasizes working with the community and branching the students out into different placements to figure out exactly what direction they want to go, since the sector is abstract and finding a specialty is ultimately up to the student.
On the health science’s portion of the IUSB website, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is cited as saying “jobs for sports and fitness workers are expected to increase as fast as average for all occupations…Employment of fitness workers is expected to increase 13 percent over the 2012-2022 decade, which is as fast as average for all occupations.”
Regarding the Health Promotion concentration, “The BLS projects the employment change for health educators to be 25 percent in 2012-2022,” and a growth of “23 percent between 2012-2020 for medical and health sciences managers”