Graduate Council Advisory Committee
Lister Hill Library, room G08
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Members present: Puri Bangalore, Melissa Galvin, Ken Miller, Kyle Grimes, Bryan Noe, Susan Rich, David Brown, David Vance, Edwin Cook

Staff: Thomas Harris, Cyndi Ballinger

Guests: Drs. Donna Slovensky and Scott Buchalter

Agenda Items:
The meeting began with the introduction of guests and ADCOM members.

The Action Item on the agenda was the review of a NISP from the School of Health Professions proposing to develop a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Quality and Safety. The proposal was presented and defended by Drs. Donna Slovensky and Scott Buchalter. Background information on the Healthcare Quality and Safety certificate program that is currently in place was presented. Students are required to complete 15 credit hours to earn the certificate. The certificate program will remain in place for students that are only interested in earning a certificate. Completion of the full master’s program will be optional. Additional training will be offered through the new Master of Science degree program.  The School of Health Professions has established a collaboration with Dr. Scott Buchalter to take advantage of his expertise in the application of the principles of Healthcare Quality and Safety. Currently there is minimal training available nationally in the area of healthcare quality and safety and the degrees that are offered elsewhere cannot take advantage of the wide range of expertise available in various schools here at UAB. There is a growing need for assuring good patient outcomes and safety in the provision of medical services. Training in the Masters program will be for top tier health professionals who will pursue the new degree to become expert leaders who will serve as the overseers and directors of the provision of services in a way that will be linked to research. The certificate program is designed for middle tier professionals who are the front line personnel i.e. Nurses and Technicians. Attaining desirable outcomes is somewhat limited without the participation more highly trained top tier leaders. Students who complete the proposed MS degree program will be desired leaders in healthcare quality and safety; the establishment of the new training program will distinguish UAB’s expertise from that of other schools. There is a significant market for students with this type of training. The availability of the new degree will also increase the probability that individuals will earn dual master degrees. Currently 50% of MPH students in the School of Health Professions earn both a MBA and MPH.

Question:  How much, if any, of the program will be offered online? Response:  Some portions of the program will be offered online, but the value gained from classroom interactions will remain a key component. Question:  A very small number of programs like this are offered in the US; is there a possibility of tapping into a larger market by offering the program largely through an online paradigm? Response: The initial classes will be recorded to develop a set of course proceedings that could be used later in online presentations. Question:  Will there be participation by faculty from other departments?  Response: Many appropriately qualified faculty in various departments and schools across the campus have been contacted regarding the possibility of their participation in the degree program.

Question:  Can you provide more information about the curriculum?  Response:  Currently, four core courses are being offered in the certificate program. A faculty panel will identify additional related courses that are available through other departments and schools; new courses will only be developed as needed. Question:  Are there other places currently developing similar programs? Some proprietary organizations may be thinking about it, but UAB’s broad expertise in this area places us in a unique position to offer this program. There is little to no competition in this area. Only Northwestern and George Washington have similar programs.  Certificate programs such as the one already offered by UAB are fully enrolled every semester because of the high demand.

Question: Can credits earned from the certificate be used toward earning the Masters degree? Response: Since the certificate is not a formal degree, credits applied toward the certificate can also be applied toward earning the Masters degree.  Question: Will admission to the Masters degree program require provision of GRE scores?  Response: Nearly all students who are currently in the certificate program already have degrees beyond the Bachelors; applicants such as these will probably not be required to provide GRE scores. However, the admissions committee will likely recommend that GRE scores be provided by applicants who have not already earned a degree beyond the Bachelors.

A motion to accept the NISP from the School of Health Professions was made and seconded.  There was no further discussion on the topic and the committee voted unanimously to approve forwarding the NISP to the Provost and the UA System Board for approval.

Information Items:

  1. Summer Enrollment Requirement Proposal; status update - Noe
  1. Revised Graduate Student Research Days Paradigm; status update - Noe

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.