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CSP Realignment Series – Installment #4: College of Health & Science


University News

With the recent announcement of CSP’s 2022 realignment of degree programming into six well-defined colleges, people have been asking for more specifics. As a result, we’re now working our way through this six-part series of stories to highlight each of the new colleges that will comprise CSP when the re-alignment is completed later this year.

In installment #4, we explore the College of Health & Science. This college takes on a new, more refined focus on specific areas of health and science studies. CSP’s nursing and kinesiology programs are being separated out to stand on their own, while the newly aligned health and science programming will focus on other career-oriented tracks that will fill a wide range of job roles that should be in high demand for many years to come.

College Leadership: Mandy Brosnahan, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Health & Science

  • Joined CSP in 2013
  • Ph.D. Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology – University of Minnesota
  • B.S. Microbiology – University of Minnesota

Dr. Brosnahan takes on a new leadership role at CSP as the Dean of the College of Health & Science. With a decade of time on the CSP faculty and in leadership roles, Dr. Brosnahan brings deep experience in the classroom preparing students for science and health-related careers.

An associate professor of biology, Dr. Brosnahan brings her own love for the sciences to bear to help students connect their own scientific pursuits with real-world outcomes that can be the basis for exceptional careers in medicine, business, and academia, to name just a few.

Now as Dean of the College of Health & Science, she will explore ways to further enhance and expand the program offerings from CSP to help the university stand out in a highly competitive academic universe in the Twin Cities and nationwide.

CSP College of Health & Science – Academic Programs:
The new alignment within the College of Health & Science provides highly tailored programming based on student type, optimizing for outcomes based on where students are in their own lives and career trajectories. As part of the new college structure, programs for nursing and kinesiology are now colleges of their own within CSP, but the university maintains strong connectivity between colleges to take advantage of natural complementary required coursework.

Traditional undergraduate programming will focus on the foundational science and health degrees that help propel students into career paths and support those considering medical school after completing their undergraduate program. Degree offerings for the traditional students include:

  • Biology (BA)
  • Biology (BS)
  • Chemistry (BA)
  • Biochemistry (BS)
  • Public Health (BA)

Non-traditional undergraduate programming will tailor more toward degree completion for some students, as well as career shifts and advancement for others. Non-traditional degree offering include:

  • Health Care Administration (BA)

Graduate programming under the newly aligned structure is anchored by the current Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. This specialized program opens a clear pathway for those with an undergraduate degree to move directly into the DPT program to become physical therapists. CSP’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree program has graduated 97.9 percent of students to date, launching a wide range of careers such as orthopedics, neurorehabilitation, private physical therapy practices, geriatric PT, women’s/pelvic health therapy, acute injury rehab, and many other areas of care.

Finally, the College of Health & Science is home to the recently introduced associates degree offering in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, with two specific areas of focus:

  • General Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Echocardiography

“CSP has a unique opportunity to compete very well in a tight market that has a good number of respected institutions vying for students’ interest,” Dr. Brosnahan noted. “With careful alignment of programming, alongside our highly engaged faculty and motivated students, we can offer exceptional career support, ranging from those seeking to launch careers to experienced professionals looking to boost their career to new heights.”

Challenges (5-10 years)
The last couple of years has brought significant pressures on health and science related industries and academic institutions alike. The pandemic amplified the burdens on people across the spectrum of related fields, from health care to public health to science and research.

Significant numbers of workers have chosen to leave their fields during this time period. At the same time, there is a lot of market competition with other higher education institutions and two-year programs that can attract students.

Another key challenge for all institutions in this space is available clinical sites and other business settings available for partnerships to support practical training and internship opportunities. All of these challenges impact colleges and universities that compete for students in these fields of study.

Opportunities (5-10 years)
The challenges presented above all have correlating opportunities that CSP will focus on moving forward. Departures of people in the workforce – combined with increasing demand for science/research-based and health-oriented services – mean that students will have many pathways to choose from. By staying aligned with the trends in the marketplace, and tailoring current and new programming to meet market demands, CSP will continue to expand its career-relevance and be a university of choice for many.

CSP also has a solid foundation when it comes to partnerships, particularly right in the Twin Cities, to serve as learning laboratories for our students. With leading health-related companies and other science/research institutions, CSP is in a good position to expand our reach into those existing and potential partnerships.

Concurrently, the demand for career advancement across multiple fields will also present opportunities for CSP to grow enrollment for the College of Health & Science, particularly in non-traditional and graduate programming. Additionally, CSP’s initial foray into AAS programming for diagnostic medical sonography serves as a model for the university to explore additional shorter-term degree programming that focuses on highly specific skill development and rapid school-to-career pathways for students.

Enrollment Trends
The charts below show enrollment trends for core traditional and non-traditional majors as well as graduate programming for the College of Health & Science over the past decade. Trends show strong growth in undergraduate fields of study from 2012 to 2015, with an overall leveling off from 2016-2021.

Enrollment Trends – Traditional Degree Programs

Enrollment Trends – Non-Traditional Programs

The charts above show the opportunities for CSP to drive greater consistency in enrollment and then foster growth in traditional enrollment for areas related to biology and chemistry. These programs are foundational for degrees in these fields and serve credit needs in other colleges within CSP.

Meanwhile, non-traditional programming noted in the second chart above shows strong, sustained interest — particularly in health care administration as well as the emergence of our new two-year diagnostic medical sonography offering. Both of these fields are expected to be high-demand career paths for the coming years. In the case of diagnostic medical sonography, Associates degree offering provides an exceptional and rapid career-ready pathway to jobs that need to be filled right away.

Enrollment Trends for Graduate Degree Programs

Finally, the chart above shows an excellent trajectory for our Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, which has grown according to plan. Based on accreditation requirements, this program is at capacity. CSP will explore ways to grow this program, which also helps organizations close a critical employment gap due to a shortage of qualified personnel.

One important element to keep in mind for the College of Health & Science overall is the natural interconnectedness it has with other colleges within CSP. Core biology and science programming fill prerequisites for nursing and kinesiology – along with subject options for the other colleges that make up the university. “Our programs will not exist in silos,” added Dr. Brosnahan. “We focus our attention on providing exceptional degree programs that can lead to rewarding and high demand careers, while fostering a cross-college ecosystem within the broader context of CSP.”

The Go-Forward Strategy for the College of Health & Science
Faculty and students are already well on their way to operating fully as part of the College of Health & Science. Collaborative work is aiding in the transition to having stand-alone colleges for nursing and kinesiology. While at the same time, CSP is minimizing disruption because of the continued complementary connectivity between the colleges that make up the university.

Leaders in the college, including Dean Brosnahan and faculty members are also crafting plans to make the most out of CSP’s proven (but sometimes not well known) attributes, such as research facilities, the cadaver lab, and other science programming that is essential across multiple degree offerings.

With the revised structure and solid direction, CSP will work to expand into additional, relevant two- and four-year degree programs while exploring opportunities to offer more advanced degrees within the College of Health & Science.