Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Salisbury joins USG with respiratory therapy degree

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital to support program

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Salisbury University has begun offering a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is supporting the program.

Part of the University System of Maryland, Universities at Shady Grove (USG) is an academic meeting place where nine of the 11 universities in the state conduct classes.

The respiratory therapy program in particular was a response to a need at Shady Grove Hospital, located just blocks from the USG campus.

‘‘It’s all about partnerships,” Director of Marketing Joe Bucci said, adding that USG is reverse engineered, in a way.

‘‘We’re constantly surveying employers to see what kind of graduates they need,” he said. ‘‘Then we can add degree programs based on what employers want.”

The hospital will pay $100,000 over five years to support a clinical instructorship program at the college.

‘‘Like many other medical professions, respiratory therapists are in short supply and high demand,” said Dennis Hansen, president of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

Bucci said the program at USG is the only respiratory therapy bachelor’s degree program in Maryland, leaving graduates from the program in a prime position for starting their careers.

‘‘These students will have jobs before they graduate,” he said.

Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat and care for patients with breathing and other cardiopulmonary disorders. The program at USG will offer the same curriculum as at the Salisbury University main campus on the Delmarva Peninsula.

USG, which accepts only college junior and senior transfer students, opened in 2000 and its first class of 37 students graduated in 2002. More than 2,500 students are now enrolled, but campus capacity is near 6,000, Bucci said. In 2007-2008, 354 undergraduates earned their degrees while attending USG.

The partner universities are Bowie State, Salisbury, University of Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland Easter Shore, Towson, University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland University College.

When students graduate, Bucci said, their diploma carries the name of the partner university, not Universities at Shady Grove, and tuition is what the partner university charges. Professors from partner universities teach the courses at the commuter campus — there are no dorms.

In November, the $46 million, 192,000-square-foot Camille Kendall Academic Center opened and was awarded the Public Building of the Year by the American Institute of Architects. According to USG, it is the largest ‘‘green” higher education building in the state and one of the first University System of Maryland buildings to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The building houses classrooms, a cafeteria, a fitness center, administrative offices and the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore.