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January 12, 2016

SUNY Empire State College Awarded $400,000 to Develop New B.S. in Health Science

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jan. 12, 2016) SUNY Empire State College has been awarded $400,000 to develop a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, a new program that will contribute to achieving SUNY’s systemwide completion agenda of awarding 150,000 degrees each year by 2020.

Modeled after the college’s successful RN to B.S. in Nursing program, SUNY Empire’s new bachelor’s degree will provide a clear, direct and efficient path for radiologic technicians, emergency medical technicians, dental hygienists, physical therapy assistants and many others who have earned an associate and want to complete their bachelor’s degree.

“The B.S. in Health Science is the latest example of SUNY Empire’s dedicated faculty and staff using innovative, alternative and flexible approaches to higher education that transform people and communities through rigorous programs that connect individuals’ unique and diverse lives to their personal learning goals,” said Associate Professor Kim Stote, who was a member of the team that developed the successful proposal. “The B.S. in Health Science is designed to promote seamless academic progression for students moving from the associate to completion of a bachelor’s degree.”

Graduates of this program can become direct-care providers, managers, educators or individuals focused on state-population health issues.

“The program will also take advantage of the college’s partnerships with SUNY’s community colleges and several hospitals and health-care organizations throughout the state,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Having this new bachelor’s degree in place will mean more and better job prospects for people working in health care, and their families, across the state. Better-educated employees, in turn, will mean improved health care for New Yorkers.”

The college’s School of Nursing already has articulation agreements with 26 of SUNY’s 30 community colleges. Part of the new program calls for the college to work with its current community college partners to extend the agreements to include health sciences.

The college will leverage other existing partnerships which currently provide a path to degree completion for radiologic technicians, including at Catholic Health System on Long Island, Glens Falls Hospital, Hudson Mohawk Health Education Center in Glens Falls, New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, Peconic Bay Medical Center Radiology in Riverhead, Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs and Champlain Valley Radiology, in order to begin the process of scaling up the new program across the state.

Resources for SUNY Empire’s new program come from the SUNY system’s newly established Investment and Performance Fund and were awarded through a competitive, systemwide process.

The college’s proposal was one of 32 selected for funding, which were announced yesterday by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher during her annual State of the University Address.

“These awards are a remarkable sample of what SUNY campuses are prepared to do in order to help more students complete their degrees,” said Zimpher. “Whether it’s working with area high schools to get students ready for college, supporting students who are at risk of falling behind, or providing an applied learning opportunity to ensure career success, SUNY is committed to improving student outcomes at every stage.”

According to the state Department of Labor:


  • The fastest growing occupations in New York state are health-care related; these include physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, diagnostic medical sonographers, health educators and dental hygienists
  • More than 3 million jobs in health care are forecast to be created in the period from 2010- 2018, resulting largely from the aging of the population
  • From February 2013 to February 2014 in the state of New York, there was an increase of more than 40,000 jobs in the health-care and educational sectors.


The college’s health science degree is designed as an upper-level bachelor’s degree completion program and begins in the third year of a student's studies, after the completion of the associate degree.

“The health science program is designed to create learning environments that promote critical thinking, social responsibility and lifelong learning,” said Stote.

Students will be able to complete their degree online, in small groups and through guided independent study. Students learning on a full-time basis can expect to complete the college’s program in two years.

The college anticipates enrolling students in the new program beginning in the fall of 2017.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 77,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at

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