Date: December 21, 2007
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL, December 21, 2007 – The College of Health Professions at Governors State University will present “Advancing Professional Practice: An Expert Discussion on the Professional Practice Doctorate,” on Thursday, January 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The professional practice doctorate degree is a credential that is quickly gaining ground as professions adapt to the growth in knowledge in fields like nursing, physical therapy, and education.
“The practice doctorate is giving professions the versatility to meet several challenges,” said Dr. Linda Samson, dean of the College of Health Professions. “For example, it will soon be the entry-level degree for physical therapy practice. In other fields, like nursing, the degree will help put educators in the classroom and assure the skill set of advanced practitioners.”
Samson said the degree is being offered in more academic institutions and in more disciplines. She also noted the difference between practice doctorates and traditional Ph.D. programs.
“The Ph.D. is a research degree,” said Samson. “Ph.D. graduates typically work in universities and other research entities building human knowledge and understanding. Most professors in traditional fields in a university hold a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate.”
The professional doctorate, in comparison, primarily focuses on the knowledge graduates need for advanced or entry-level practice. It also allows experts in a given discipline to take on managerial functions and apply systems-based solutions to challenges in the field, or “big picture” solutions that solve problems by making sure seemingly independent functions work well together and offer the best care and utilization of resources.
She added that in fields like nursing, there is a looming and critical shortage of nurses who can teach the next generation of nurses, making an already critical shortage of nurses worse. The new professional practice doctorate in that field, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, will help solve that problem.
Samson said that the College of Health Professions is one of the growing number of colleges that are developing and offering these degrees. The college launched its first professional doctorate degree, the Doctor of Physical Therapy, this summer, and a new Doctor of Nursing Practice is projected to accept students for Fall 2008 admission.
“We’re moving ahead with the development of our doctoral programs,” she said. “We know there’s a huge interest in these degrees, but there are a lot of questions, too.” The January 10 program is designed to investigate those questions.
The program panelists are: Dr. Steven Crow - President, The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Dr. Donna Hathaway - Dean of Nursing, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis; Dr. David Gale - Dean for the College of Health Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University; Dr. Linda Samson - Dean of the College of Health Professions, Governors State University; and Dr. Eric Martin - Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Governors State University.
The free event is open to the public and will be held in Sherman Hall on the university’s main campus, located at 1 University Parkway, University Park, Illinois. For more information, call (708) 534-4914.