By MEGAN PALBICKI
Mount Mary College, in collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin, now offers students an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Health degree in only five years. It is the first program of its kind for the two institutions, dovetailing with Mount Mary’s mission to serve others through social justice.
Public health professionals work to improve the population’s health by educating them in the area of health science. Public health roles can vary from conducting health science and psychology research and experiments, to public relations, to conveying findings and prevention methods to the public.
Many students wonder if the dual program will work with their majors.
“Maybe this is something that would be a good fit for me, so I can still work in my field but not directly with patients,” said Katelyn Prange, an interested psychology student.
Because public health is so diverse, the program is open to any major. Many majors from Spanish to accounting have already inquired about the program. Most important, the program allows Mount Mary students to live out the social justice philosophy every day.
“Whatever major you are in, you are going to have the social justice implications of the research, the knowledge; public health is about social justice,” said Dr. Wendy McCredie, associate dean for academic affairs.
With this new program, a student who aims to work in public health or health education can complete her bachelor’s degree at Mount Mary in four years, take 15 credits through online classes at MCW during her senior year and continue at MCW for an additional year after graduation.
To guarantee the smooth integration of the new program, McCredie has been working closely with Terry Brandenburg, the director of the master of public health program at MCW, to ensure student success.
“We are in an era of collaboration,” Brandenburg said, explaining the inspiration for partnering with Mount Mary.
Brandenburg also said he is impressed with Mount Mary’s curriculum revolving around a comprehensive learning and service-based education.
The collaboration is not set up as a combined degree, but two separate degrees from different institutions. The entire master’s degree from MCW can be completed online, with the exception of field placement in the latter half of the program.
“What we have created is a virtual environment,” Brandenburg said. “We’re trying to create a virtual classroom. It’s not a correspondence course.”
The public health program at MCW is open to students all over the country. The virtual classroom will provide Mount Mary seniors a chance to collaborate with students from coast-to-coast and internationally.
To ease the burden of over-stressed seniors, Brandenburg and McCredie brainstormed the challenges and have implemented criteria that enable students to be prepared for this endeavor.
A 3.3 GPA and three letters of recommendation are required to apply. McCredie advises students to work meticulously with advisers between sophomore and junior year to map out the final two years. in order to prepare for graduate school during their senior year.