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College of Health plans to move forward despite budget shortfalls

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Jacob Barriga
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne has entered phase one of a three-phase plan for the opening of a new College of Health that is set to officially open in fall of 2024. 

The college is going to be the home of several new masters programs in health professions at the University, likely including a nursing program and a potential health law program, along with the already in-place physician’s assistant program. 

The process of planning for the new health college began in earnest in February of this year. And it moved forward despite the global pandemic, which forced all courses online since March, and created a budget crisis and the need for $15 million in budget cuts this year. 

College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Brian Clocksin, who is chairman of the College of Health planning committee, said the health college is something the University of La Verne needs to prepare graduates for the jobs of the future. 

“Back in 2012 the University looked to increase their footprint in helping their surrounding community,” said Clocksin, also professor of kinesiology. “We did research early last decade and concluded that health related jobs will be the most needed and demanded jobs in 20 years.”

University officials believe this is a way for the University to advance and sustain itself financially, they say. 

The fact that the University is moving forward with starting a new college at a time of financial uncertainty and cuts across current departments and programs, has caused some faculty to wonder about the timing of establishing a new college. 

But University President Devorah Lieberman said that the new college will help ensure the University of La Verne’s longevity. 

“In the long term, we believe this is going to sustain us financially,” Lieberman said. “We want to provide the programs that students are seeking, which will turn into the most demanded jobs in the region” Lieberman said. 

Lieberman said the new College will not necessarily take from other programs and colleges. It is an investment to enhance the University moving forward, she said. 

University Provost Jonathan Reed added that the University will use year-end reserves and fundraising to support the new College project.

“We must invest in the future or else the present will slowly wither,” Reed said. “I understand the concerns of some faculty in a resource-constrained environment that we are investing in new programs, but we are trying to avoid any restrictions to any of the current programs.”

Reed noted that faculty support for the new College of Health has been mixed, with some faculty concerned about how the new college will impact existing programs. 

Open communication will be key. 

 “Health care is an open field,” said Kathy Duncan, professor of management and part of the College of Health planning committee. “There is a need in our community, and there are a lot of jobs for our students. This also aligns with the University’s mission to be engaged and supportive of our community.”

The University currently has graduate programs in business, education and law, as well as psychology and the new physician’s assistant program. 

University officials hope to open the College of Health, which would include the physician’s assistant program among other programs for health professionals, in 2024. 

Jacob Barriga can be reached at jacob.barriga@laverne.edu.

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