When St. Bonaventure University first-year students begin classes next month, it will be different in a very key way. They will be the first students in the Southern Tier school's major expansion into health sciences.
St. Bonaventure is making a major shift in its programming and eventually spending significant dollars on its new School of Health Professions. Founding Dean Douglas Pisano said the university is strongly backing the shift.
"Bonaventure has good bones. It has a great alumni base. It has a caring faculty. It's got facilities and it has a name," Pisano said, "and what it needs is a little sprucing up with regard to programming. That's nothing different than any other school. The difference is Bonaventure is 100 percent behind this effort."
Pisano has long experience in higher education health professions. He started as a freshman at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and worked his way up over the decades to provost.
St. Bonaventure's new school will start by offering bachelor's degrees in public health and health sciences, then more majors will come, including a big effort in nursing.
"Focusing on the RN to BSN, which has just been signed by the governor for all registered nurses." Pisano said. "So we'll basically look for students that have their associates degree and a practice license already to come into the nursing program. We'll be able to serve that population."
Pisano said he is looking at an array of possible undergraduate and graduate programs, phasing them in over the next few years, as facilities are prepared and arrangements are made for students to do practical work in the field as part of their programs.
"To put together the undergraduate division first and that will help fund the graduate division," he said. "The good news is that in the graduate programs, such as PA, PT, OT, etc., those are fixed tuitions. You don't discount them."
That is often not true of undergraduate programs, where the actual price paid can be well below what is often called the sticker price.
He said the big thing about the health fields in this new program is that there are a lot of available jobs, including in the Southern Tier, so that a Bonnie graduate could stay in the neighborhood for a career and not have to move somewhere else.