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PASSHE Board of Governors approves new graduate degrees, including first doctoral program authorized under Higher Education Modernization Act
West Chester University to offer Doctorate of Nursing Practice

Kenn Marshall, (717) 720-4054 or (717) 329-0809
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 
​Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors today approved two new graduate degree programs, including the first made possible by the passage last year of the Higher Education Modernization Act (HEMA), which gives all 14 PASSHE universities the ability to offer applied or “professional” doctorates.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania will offer a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, intended to prepare working advanced practice nurses to meet the demands of the increasingly complex healthcare environment. The degree is expected to become the level of preparation necessary to perform advanced practice roles in the future.
The Board also approved a new Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program to be offered by Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and endorsed the continuation of the Doctorate of Audiology degree program solely at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Previously, the program was offered under the auspices of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), which, prior to the passage of HEMA, was the only university in the State System authorized to confer doctoral degrees.
The Doctorate of Nursing Practice at WCU will focus on skills such as collaboration, innovation and evaluation. The majority of the program will be offered online. The doctoral degree is expected to become the required level of preparation for advanced practice nurses beginning in 2015.
The flexible design of the proposed 35-credit online program is intended to meet the needs of working advanced practice nurses in the region while still allowing for face-to-face advising and interaction with faculty.
The new MBA program at Slippery Rock is designed to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s high priority occupations in the areas of financial services, logistics and management.  The 36- to 39-credit program will consist of three tracks: general, accounting/finance and management/marketing and will be offered at the Regional Learning Alliance (RLA) in Cranberry Township.  The RLA is located in a high-growth economic corridor five miles from Pittsburgh city limits and 30 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.
Utilizing an eight-week mini-semester format with blended face-to-face and distance education courses, the MBA program will provide flexibility and accelerated delivery formats designed to meet the needs of working adults who wish to maintain or advance in their careers.
Bloomsburg University began offering the Doctor of Audiology degree program in conjunction with IUP in 2003. At the time, BU had been offering a Master of Science degree in audiology for more than 30 years, and its program graduates had a 100 percent pass rate on the national certification exam. Changes in the field – similar to those in nursing – resulted in the entry-level degree for professional audiologists being elevated to the doctorate.
Because of the changes included in the HEMA legislation, Bloomsburg will now be able to take full control of the Au.D. program.
For more information on any of the programs, please contact the appropriate university.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.