Lynchburg University has a new college. In June, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Allison Jablonski announced the establishment of the College of Medical Sciences. The college will serve as an umbrella for the PA University School of Medicine, which houses the PA Doctor of Medical Sciences and Master of Medicine programs.
Both were previously part of the College of Health Sciences, which will continue to include the Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Athletic Training and a variety of undergraduate programs, including the School of Nursing.
“I’m very excited about this change,” Jablonski said. “By revising our academic structure, I am confident that it will streamline our teaching efforts in these two popular programs and also allow for growth.”
The new college will be headed by the dean Dr. Jeremy Welsh and Associate Dean Dr. Jenna Rolfs. Welsh, who previously led the DMSc and PA Medicine programs, is also responsible for a new office. He will lead the Office of Academic Strategy as associate vice president and associate provost for academic strategy, beginning July 1.
According to Jablonski, this position is “responsible and accountable for building consistent policies and practices for student recruitment and matriculation, focused on professional and graduate students.”
The newly created office will “serve as a hub for academic excellence and innovation, generating potential academic revenue, and exploring and incubating new academic programs, working in partnership with college deans and others,” Jablonski added.
Welsh, who has led the University’s Innovation and Collaboration pillar as chief innovation officer and also serves as chief academic officer for the Community Outreach Network, is excited about the changes and his new role.
“We are excited to build on the success of the PA Medicine and Doctor of Medical Sciences programs with the College of Medical Sciences – or COMS,” said Welsh. “The creation of COMS will strengthen our current programs and create additional opportunities for growth.”
Welsh envisions new degree pathways that will “strengthen the region’s health care providers and health care system with a focus on quality leadership.”
The new college, he added, “will continue to work with community and regional partners to build solutions to health care disparity, access and affordability of care.”
The changes come as a result of the University’s new strategic plan, which challenged the Office of Academic Affairs, among other things, to “optimize the structure of academic units/colleges/divisions.”
As part of that process, the University worked with Credo consultants to examine its academic structure since Lynchburg became a university in 2018.
“It is no easy task to transform a growing college into a university, and we took this opportunity to evaluate after nearly four years as a university,” Jablonski said. “After reviewing admissions, financial aid and more, Credo was extremely helpful in determining exactly how we can be more effective academically.”
The new college and leadership position are part of a comprehensive list of recommendations that include reorganizing the structure of academic affairs, combining graduate and undergraduate admissions, and launching a search for a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The latter will help “deepen and strengthen the liberal arts,” according to Jablonski.
Academic Affairs is addressing these recommendations in three phases, with phase 1 already underway. All changes must be in force by July 2023.