By Melissa Luby, News Editor
Olivet’s Departments of Nursing and Music were renamed to schools this summer, effective July 1.
Dr. Dennis Crocker, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said that the change reflects the quality of both programs. “It’s primarily a name change, yet it also involves notification to the accreditors—CCNE for nursing and NASM for music,” he said.
“It’s based on size, scope and quality. One thing that accreditors look for is autonomy to provide a quality program, and both of our programs have that.”
Dr. Don Reddick, the newly-appointed dean of the School of Music, said that the change in status is the culmination of a seven-year process. “The status distinction between a department and a school has to do with the extent of course offerings and student involvement,” he said. “We achieved the necessary status about four years ago. The name change is really just catching up with where the department already is.”
Although the School of Music has only approximately 125 majors, nearly 500 students participate in the school’s various ensembles. Reddick and Crocker hope that the school status will increase recruitment. “It’s better marketing for prospective students,” said Reddick. “Becoming a school indicates more quality and involvement. It shows that we’re a developed program.”
For the School of Nursing, under the leadership of new dean Dr. Linda Davison, the new status has importance beyond recruitment: enrollment in Olivet’s nursing department has grown with the increased demand for healthcare professionals worldwide. “Including non-traditional nursing students–full and part-time, graduate and undergraduate–we have an enrollment of over 1,000,” said Crocker. “It’s so big that it’s misleading to call it a department.” The increase in enrollment has created a need for more space; according to a press release on the Olivet website, a 10,000-square-foot expansion is planned for Wisner Hall of Nursing in the next six years. Besides a physical expansion, Crocker also hopes that the School of
Nursing can expand in terms of programs and course offerings. “By becoming a school, the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences has more latitude to develop programs in other fields,” he said.
The School of Music is also looking to use its new status to expand. According to Reddick, an expansion of Larsen Fine Arts Center is planned to occur sometime in the next three years. Although no decisions have been made, Crocker said that there are also preliminary discussions to add music masters programs, such as graduate degrees in music education and music therapy. “We’re exploring whether or not there’s sufficient demand and resource allocation to make masters programs profitable,” he said.
Ultimately, the name change is an indication of the growth and success of both programs. “It’s not just a cosmetic change,” said Crocker. “It’s a reflection of substance.”