The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences has reached a crucial benchmark in pursuit of full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy (ACOTE) that will allow students to be accepted into Mary Baldwin University’s physical therapy and occupational therapy graduate programs.
“The accreditation process is exceptionally rigorous, and for good reason,” said Linda Seestedt-Stanford, founding vice president of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences. “Accreditation protects the public and ensures that our students demonstrate the required skills and competencies for entry-level physical therapy practice.”
Classes in physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are slated to begin in June 2014.
“We are thrilled and excited about the quality of our applicants and look forward to seating the class of 2017,” said Nathan “Ben” Herz, program director for occupational therapy, who has started informing prospective students about the development.
“We are impressed by the caliber and number of applicants coming in from around the region, state, and nation, and we are eager to admit them into our program,” said Lisa Shoaf, physical therapy program director. “It is exciting to think about welcoming those first students who will experience our innovative curriculum with a focus on interprofessional education that will set us apart in the field.”
Mary Baldwin has steadily received applications for both PT and OT programs since July, and each program will accept approximately 30 students into its inaugural class. Some prospective students have had the opportunity to meet directors and faculty from the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at graduate school fairs, open houses, and information sessions.
In the meantime, construction is progressing on Murphy Deming’s initial three-story, 57,000-square-foot building on the site off Goose Creek Road in Fishersville. Instructional technology for the state-of-the-art facility has also been finalized, including simulation labs, lecture capture capability, videoconferencing, and projection of multiple images on large flat-screen monitors in classrooms. In addition, MDCHS faculty and staff have connected with key community partners through the Augusta Community Forum and the Mary Baldwin University service-learning network to develop ongoing projects.
A $15 million gift from longtime Mary Baldwin benefactor Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46 launched the development of the college of health sciences and jump-started construction. In addition to doctor of physical therapy and doctor of occupational therapy programs, a master of science in physician assistant studies program is also planned to open in 2015.