Iowa Board of Regents

UNI School of Health, Department of Nursing and Public Health

Scenic view of university campus as sun sets in the sky.

At its June 13-14, 2023 meeting, the Board of Regents will consider approval for a new School of Health and Human Sciences and a new Department of Nursing and Public Health at UNI. If approved, the school and department will serve as the home of UNI’s forthcoming Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, approved by the Board at its November 2022 meeting.

Both the new school and the new department will be housed in UNI’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. With this structure, UNI can bring together existing programs that currently span multiple colleges. Additionally, with health-related majors at the top of prospective students’ areas of interest, this change will strengthen UNI recruitment and make it easier for prospective students to find their intended major. 

“It will make these programs much more visible to families and students that are looking to contribute to solving health care problems in Iowa,” said José Herrera, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UNI. “It also gives us some administrative efficiencies. By gathering programs under one roof, it allows us to reorganize academic structures and administrative support. We’re more efficient this way.”

The new school will encompass four departments: Family, Aging and Counseling; Kinesiology and Athletic Training; the proposed Nursing and Public Health Department; and Social Work. Athletic Training, Kinesiology and Public Health programs will move from the College of Education to the College of Behavioral Sciences under this proposed school. 

The proposed changes will allow the aforementioned programs, in addition to the forthcoming nursing program, to work together under the same umbrella. This cohesive structure will help students find new connections and networks and better prepare them for a wider range of career options. 

“We needed a place that allows for interprofessional communication among the various health programs,” Herrera said. “In most places, the ability to communicate with other healthcare disciplines and partners is a valued asset. If you’re an occupational therapist, you need to know how to talk to a neurosurgeon or a social worker. By putting these programs together, students will have the opportunity to have these interprofessional conversations that will benefit them in their professional lives.”

Taken in concert, the new school and department, in addition to the new nursing program, will position UNI to fill vital workforce needs in Iowa and across the country. 

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