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November 1, 2007

Health studies department secures $42,000 BOR grant to develop online degree courses

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Health Studies Department secured a $42,000 Louisiana Board of Regents grant to develop 11 online courses, allowing non-traditional students a more accessible pursuit of the bachelor's degree of science in health studies.

Now students will have the choice of two complete BSHS programs at ULM - the traditional classroom route, which began at the university in the spring of 2007, and the new online option for non-traditional students. Participants will not be able to mix and match the traditional approach with the electronic one. Both result in the sought-after bachelor's degree.

Jessica Dolecheck, department head and principal investigator for the Supporting Electronic Learning and Essential Campus Transitions grant, said that electronic learning is quickly becoming the predominant technology for adult learners (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2000).

Dolecheck said, "The online BSHS program will address an important need. For those non-traditional students who work full time and/or manage a family, gaining the ability to further their education without major disruption to their professional and family life is vital. In addition, this online degree program will produce qualified healthcare professionals for management jobs in the industry, providing a wide-reaching impact on the state's economy."

The grant, titled "Online: Bachelor's of Science in Health Studies at ULM," goes into effect in December of 2007. It particularly addresses several key concerns of the SELECT program, namely that the award will facilitate access to, and transfers from, two- and four-year educational institutions and will promote the professional development of Louisiana's workforce.

As a byproduct of the grant, Dolecheck and co-principal investigators Matthew Matusiak and Paula Griswold, both ULM assistant professors of health studies, will also hire additional adjunct faculty to assist with the course development.

According to the BOR Web site, the SELECT grants program is focused on fostering the development and delivery of high-quality courses, modules and academic programs for Louisiana's learning communities. Special consideration is given to projects that extend education to rural and other underserved areas.

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