Peer Review

Offering an Arts and Sciences Associates of Arts Degree Transfer Program in Public Health

In fall 2009, Howard Community College (HCC) will become the first two-year college in the nation to offer an arts and sciences associate of arts (AA) transfer degree program in public health. This program is designed to articulate with the Health Administration and Policy Program (HAPP) public health track at the University of Maryland–Baltimore County (UMBC). Located in Columbia, Maryland, HCC is uniquely positioned to launch this initiative. Through the city’s conception, design, and development, Columbia, Maryland, models an integrated global community. Using principles of interdependence and diversity, James W. Rouse, Columbia’s founder and developer, envisioned a community that would bring together people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and socioeconomic levels. The 1,092 students of the 2009 HCC graduating class, which represented 101 nations, stood witness to Rouse’s vision of unity and diversity.

Located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., HCC has ready access to global public health organizations, research institutions, and premier schools of public health (i.e., Catholic Relief Services, USAID, NIH, NCI, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), providing rich educational experiences, on and off campus, through collaborative ties. Institutionally, HCC fosters and promotes a culture of civic engagement, incorporating service as one of its eight core values: innovation, nurturing, sustainability, partnership, integrity, respect, excellence, and service. Furthermore, HCC’s mission to provide pathways to success, and its vision—A place to discover greatness in yourself and others—are working ideals upheld by HCC’s administration and board of trustees, who support new faculty initiatives, encourage creativity, and celebrate excellence in the workplace. It is in this environment that the arts and sciences associate of arts transfer degree program in public health was conceived, has evolved, and now can flourish.

You Can Get There From Here

As a two-year college, HCC prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides career training programs (i.e., nursing, emergency medical services, radiologic technology, and biomedical technology), and establishes pathways of learning through credit and noncredit courses. HCC’s motto, “You can get there from here,” embodies the culture of the campus with a spirit that extends beyond academic success and transfer.

Supported through administrative funding, the HCC Center for Service Learning collaborates with the community to create meaningful service experiences that extend classroom and cocurricular learning while encouraging civic engagement, community awareness, and personal development. During the 2008–09 academic year, 525 HCC students engaged in curricular and cocurricular service- learning projects. With more than eighty partnering sites from which to choose, HCC public health program students will be introduced to service through a course titled Personal and Community Health. This course will give students direct community involvement in assessment, prevention, protection, and policy—the cornerstones of public health—and, as recommended by the LEAP Principles of Excellence, will challenge students to “engage in the big questions” (LEAP principle four) and take on “real-world problems” (LEAP principle five). In preparation for their service work, students will develop a goal statement and three supporting objectives, thereby providing a compass for their own plan of excellence (LEAP principles one and two). Assessment in the form of timely reflection (submitted via e-mail within forty-eight hours of each service visit), a question-guided culminating final reflection essay, and an in-class formal presentation of the semesterlong service will be used to “deepen learning and to establish a culture of shared purpose and continuous improvement” (LEAP principles three and seven). Through service learning, students will forge a link between the theory and practice of public health.

Evolutionary timeline of the HCC Arts and Sciences AA transfer degree program in public health

Prior to my faculty appointment at HCC, I served as an adjunct instructor for two years at UMBC and continue to teach there in the Health Administration and Policy Program (HAPP). Key to this enduring partnership is a strong relationship—the feeling of being valued and respected by my HAPP colleagues, who consider my work to be an integral part of the success of our students and the HAPP program. Our shared passion for teaching and promoting public health at the undergraduate level has resulted in the evolution of a seamless pathway for HCC public health program students to transfer to UMBC.

In 2002 I joined HCC as an assistant professor in health sciences and was immediately charged with the task of developing a promotion plan to associate professor. The diversity of the HCC community and a note from a former student, crediting my passion for teaching as the inspiration that led her to Africa to train nurses, inspired me to develop my promotion plan. Although my initial goal was to create an arts and sciences AA transfer degree program in global health, not merely an option, my department chair advised me to save that project for subsequent promotion.

In November 2005 I was contacted by James Tielsch, a professor of international health and associate chair of academic programs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), who asked if I would be interested in collaborating on the development of a model undergraduate course on global health. This contact led to us coteaching the first Introduction to Cross-Cultural and International Health course (renamed Global Health) at HCC in spring 2006. We have since brought the pilot course with revisions to UMBC and Johns Hopkins.

Inspired and encouraged by Tielsch, I took a one-year sabbatical (2007–08) from HCC and attended the eleven-month MPH program at JHSPH. My capstone project (and subsequent promotion plan) was the development of the HCC arts and sciences AA transfer degree program in public health (see outline below: Public Health—Howard Community College 2009–10). The timely publication of The Educated Citizen and Public Health: A Consensus Report on Public Health and Undergraduate Education (Riegelman, Albertine, and Persily 2007) served as my guide in the development of this program.

Public Health—Howard Community College (2009–2010)

An Arts and Sciences AA Degree Program (Transfer)

General Education Core

General education core credits in excess of thirty-six will transfer as general electives or courses related to the major. Each student’s total of general education and required courses must equal at least sixty semester hours of credit.
Credits
Composition
 
ENGL-121 College Composition I
3
ENGL-122 College Composition II
3
Arts and Humanities
 
 
Literature core course
3
FINE-102 Arts, Culture and Ideas
3
PHIL-103 Introduction to Ethics
3
History
History core course
3
Social Sciences
 
 
 
GEOG-101 Introduction to World Geography
OR
3
 
GEOG-102 Elements of Cultural Geography
3
Social Science core course
3
Science
Science core course (one credit must be a lab)
7–8
Mathematics
MATH-138 Statistics
4
Interdisciplinary
HEED-115 Personal and Community Health
3
 

Required Course Related to Major

PUBH-101
Introduction to Public Health
3
PUBH-210
Epidemiology
3
PUBH-230
Health and the Disease Process
3
PUBH-280
Global Health
3
NUTR-211
Nutrition
3
Humanities
World Language Sequence*
8
TOTAL
 
61-62
*World Language Sequence requirements vary by institution. At HCC, the World Language Sequence means two sequential foreign language courses in the same language (e.g., SPAN-101 and SPAN-102, or FREN-102 and FREN-201), excluding courses taught in English.

During fall 2007, UMBC introduced its HAPP public health track (see outline below: Health Administration and Policy Program—UMBC 2009–10) and within two years surpassed the department’s five-year projection goal of declared HAPP-public health majors (see below).

UMBC HAPP Public Health Track Enrollment Date
Number of Declared HAPP—
Public Health Majors
July 2007
10
March 2008
32
February 2009
63
May 2009
79

The proposal for the arts and sciences associates degree transfer program in public health—including two new courses, Introduction to Public Health (PUBH 101), Epidemiology (PUBH 210), and a course name and designator change from Introduction to Cross-Cultural and International Health (HEED 127) to Global Health (PUBH 280)—was approved by the HCC curriculum and instruction (C & I) committee spring 2009 and will be included in the 2009–10 catalogue.

Currently, three HCC public health courses (see below) are under review by the UMBC Articulation Committee to determine course equivalency. Upon approval, HCC students who transfer these courses to UMBC will earn nine upper-level credits toward their forty-five required upper-level credits for graduation. This, we expect, will bring further growth to the public health programs at both HCC and UMBC.

HCC Course
UMBC Equivalent Course
PUBH 101 Intro to Public Health
SOCY 354 Social Basis of Public and Community Health
PUBH 210 Epidemiology
SOCY 420 Social Epidemiology
PUBH 280 Global Health
HAPP 380 Global Issues in Health and Disease

 

Health Administration and Policy Program—
UMBC (2009–10)

A Bachelor of Arts Degree Program

Core Curriculum Public Health Track III

General education core credits in excess of thirty-six will transfer as general electives or courses related to the major. Each student’s total of general education and required courses must equal at least sixty semester hours of credit.
Credits
HAPP 100
Survey of the U.S. Health Care System
3
HAPP 452
Health Care Organization and Delivery
3
HAPP 495/496
Inernship and Internship Seminar
6
ENGL 391
Advanced Exposition and Argumentation
OR
 
ENGL 393
Technical Writing
3
IS 101
Introduction to Computer Based Systems
3
IS 295
Intermediate Business Applications
3
STAT 121
Introduction to Statistics for the Social Sciences
OR
 
STAT 350
Statistics with Applications in the Biological Sciences
OR
 
STAT 351
Applied Statistics for Business and Economics
OR
 
SOCY 301
Analysis of Sociological Data
4
Natural Sciences
Two courses from the approved list of natural sciences
8
 

Track III: Public Health

HAPP 380
Introduction to Public Health
3
HAPP 411
Epidemiology
3
HAPP 412
Health and the Disease Process
3
SOCY 354
Global Health
3
SOCY 420
Nutrition
3
PLUS
Four courses from the approved list of electives; Track III students may replace two electives with two courses from the approved list of natural science (twelve to fourteen credits).

Future Initiatives

Howard Community College is currently revising the general education core requirements for all degrees, to be reflected in the 2010–11 catalogue. The revised program (see outline below: Public Health—Howard Community College—Revised 2010–11) will allow for nine additional public health credits to be included under required courses related to the major. A three-credit environmental health course, proposed through HCC’s science and technology division, was recently approved by the C & I committee and will be cross-listed with the public health designator, PUBH. This course, along with two additional three-credit courses in public health, yet to be developed and proposed, will be included in the revised program.

To assess and compare achievement of students enrolled in HCC’s course Global Health (PUBH 280) to that of UMBC’s course Issues in Global Health and Disease (HAPP 380), we will conduct a three-year learning outcomes assessment, commencing spring 2010.

Public Health—Howard Community College—Revised (2010–11)

An Arts and Sciences AA Degree Program (Transfer)

General Education Core

Each student’s total of general education and required courses must equal at least 60 semester hours of credit.)
Credits
Composition
ENGL-121 College Composition I
3
Arts and Humanities
 
 
World Language Sequence
8
FINE-102 Arts, Culture and Ideas
3
PHIL-103 Introduction to Ethics
3
Social Sciences
 
 
 
GEOG-101 Introduction to World Geography
OR
 
 
GEOG-102 Elements of Cultural Geography
3
History core course
3
Science
Science core course (one credit must be a lab)
7–8
Mathematics
MATH-138 Statistics
4
Interdisciplinary
HEED-115 Personal and Community Health
3
 

Required Course Related to Major

PUBH-101
Introduction to Public Health
3
PUBH-210
Epidemiology
3
PUBH-230
Health and the Disease Process
3
PUBH-280
Global Health
3
NUTR-211
Nutrition
3
PUBH-?
Environmental Health
3
PUBH-?
Public health course(s)
8
TOTAL
 
61-62
*World Language Sequence requirements vary by institution. At HCC, the World Language Sequence means two sequential foreign language courses in the same language (e.g., SPAN-101 and SPAN-102, or FREN-102 and FREN-201), excluding courses taught in English.

Conclusion

The HCC Cross-Cultural and International Health option (precursor to the arts and sciences AA transfer degree program in public health) had, on average, ten to fifteen students enrolled in its individual classes—with few students declaring it as their course of study. Without an established articulation pattern in place, advertisement for this option was limited.

In contrast, the new arts and sciences associate’s transfer degree program in public health will be marketed on and off campus (i.e., semester course listing mailings, Web-based advertising, campus-posted flyers). Considering the rapid growth of UMBC’s HAPP public health track, we likewise expect to attract and enroll a significant number of students at HCC. The new PUBH designator will also enable students to easily search for and recognize public health courses.

The Educated Citizen and Public Health: A Consensus Report on Public Health and Undergraduate Education, published in October 2007, recommends the following under the section Administrative Considerations and Requirements: “Effective programs negotiate across boundaries of departments and schools. An administrative entrepreneur at the center of the institution (in the office of academic affairs) can help.” The vice president of academic affairs at HCC has been our greatest supporter in the successful development of the public health program and has championed my continued partnership with UMBC. He, too, has nurtured both my scholastic and professional growth in the field of public health by providing funding (i.e., summer grants, workshop and conference fees) for advancement opportunities and recognizing me as the leader of this initiative.

Community college transfer students are vital to the strength of four-year institutions. Guided by mutual respect, HCC and UMBC are philosophically and academically prepared to reach our collaborative goal of educating outstanding citizens and future public health professionals.

 

References

Association of American Colleges and Universities. 2007. College learning for the new global century: A report from the national leadership council for Liberal Education and America’s Promise. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.'

Riegelman, R. K., S. Albertine, and N. A. Persily. 2007. The educated citizen and public health: A consensus report on public health and undergraduate education. Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences.www.ccas.net/files/public/Publications/
Public_Health_and_Undergraduate_Education.pdf


Jeanette Jeffrey is an associate professor of international health and nutrition at Howard Community College.

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