Faculty Senate discuss DO school

By Tanya Giraldo
On September 23, 2013

The Faculty Senate voted to support the Student Government Association and the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce in the Red Wolf Boulevard Resolution on Friday.

Julie Isaacson, faculty senate chair, pushed to put it toat the top of the agenda due to the public works committee needing their input on the matter before their Oct. 1 vote on the resolution.

“I think the question is, ‘is this room comfortable supporting the students and the chamber in this?’ Do we really think this is an academic issue that we need to discuss?” Isaacson said. “We are just here to say do we or do we not support the students.”

The motion to suspend all rules and have a vote was made. Fifteen were in favor to support the resolution, seven were opposed and three abstained.

Jason Penry, vice chancellor for university advancement, gave an update on the Osteopathic medical school.

Penry said the idea came in 2009 when the state organization Arkansas Osteopathic Medicine Association came to campus and visited with Susan Hanrahan, dean of nursing and health professions.

“They had some discussions and through those discussions they kind of tabled it and said that because the cost of the building would be $25 million roughly, it just wasn’t workable,” Penry said.

In September of 2012, Lincoln Memorial University in Eeast Tennessee came to visit Jonesboro about a possible partnership, Penry said. From that they learned osteopathic schools were an emerging trend. They also discovered there was a branch campus model that could be used instead of a medical school model.

“What we’ve learned is they (build branch campuses) because they want to build their program,” Penry said. “There is a tremendous shortage in primary care physicians, we know that the schools associated with this have better students, it gives more opportunities to students, the overall feeling of alumni prestige is better and the economic impact is anywhere annually from $20-60 million.”

Penry said the Osteopathic school would be considered a private school on this public campus. By December, it will be decided if this will be taken to the Board of Trustees. Penry said things have been discussed but nothing has been decided, and it could take 18-24 months to complete the school.

“If everything falls into place, so don’t hold me to this, but I think August 2016 would be an applicable opening,” Penry said. “But things could change and it could be 2019.”


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