Agenda Item FA 08-25

Submitted by the Executive Committee

The Proposed Move and Merge of the Department of Mental Health Counseling from COEHS to BCH

06/05/08: Passed

06/27/08: Approved

Rationale

 

  • Improved Student Learning Experiences.   
  • Creating a “critical mass.”   Both programs are small and are currently housed in two separate Colleges at UNF, which makes it difficult for them to interact professionally.
  • Greater Continuity of Interdisciplinary Services and Training.  Most health care providers are members of an interdisciplinary team. Merging the programs will provide greater opportunity for students to learn how to work with interdisciplinary teams.
  • Addressing the Unmet Need for Mental Health Resources in Northeast Florida.  As of 2006 only 11,000 of the 233, 000 of Jacksonville residents with a diagnosable mental illness were served.. The programs will be well better positioned to offer clinical services to this population.
  • The Separate Identity of School Counseling.  Currently MHC is housed with School Counseling, whose focus has shifted from a traditional developmental counseling model to a scholastically focused model, rendering the two programs paradigmatically misaligned.
  • Meeting and Beating the Competition.  Between distance education programs and a new counselor education program that Troy State University is bringing to Jacksonville, the competition for counseling students is clearly intensifying. These two programs, with a “hands on” real-time focus on students will help UNF retain its status as “the university” in Jacksonville with programs that meet these competitive demands.

Merging the Programs is a positive move for the following reasons:

  • Far greater economy of program delivery
  • Greater visibility and more flexibility and clinical choices for students
  • Accreditation-related data collection and reporting will be significantly streamlined.
  • Increase in enrollment in both programs because undergraduate feeder programs in the College of Health. 

Merger Proposal Ramifications:

  • Cost of the Merger.  Because the merger merely involves moving a program from one College to another cost variations are minimal.
  • Space.  Both programs need clinical space to train counselors to do individual and group counseling, and assessment.  This space currently exists on the 4th floor of the BCH, and upon completion of the building addition, use of this space will be available.
  • Moving from current curriculum schedules to new curriculum schedules.   Because of the cumbersome nature of generating new core courses as well as graduating students who are in the system as it presently exists, this will take the first full year, and most likely the offering of Independent Studies in order to expedite the move from current to future curriculum. 
    Change of Degree.  Because the MHC Program will move from the COEHS t
    o the BCH, the degree awarded will change from a M.Ed. to a MS.  A new program degree for MHC is being processed.