The Health Science Recommendation Committee has been around Benedictine University for more than two decades, but this past summer the committee underwent some changes. According to the Administrative Program Director, Dr. Regina Schurman, two reviewers from the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), Michael A. Deibel Ph.D. and Lisa Kooperman, did an extensive review of the operations and outcomes of the 30-year-old program. The program review was initiated in the fall of 2018 with the approval of provost Jim Payne.
“Updating our processes to be in line with NAAHP best practices will benefit all stakeholders in the process.” stated Dr. Schurman. “As you might imagine, this has been a long and involved process that began with collecting information on what we were currently doing, comparing it with best practices (NAAHP), receiving and reviewing the recommendations from the external reviewers and finally deciding how we were going to approach implementing those changes to best serve students.”
HSRC was a recommendation committee for pre professional students who aim to pursue a career in a health-related field. The purpose of this committee is to provide letters of recommendations for such students and to prepare them for the lengthy interview process that follows.
“Going through the HSRC allowed me to identify aspects of my application that needed bolstering. More importantly though, it really made me question why I’m choosing medicine as a future career.” stated Reem Odeh, a senior at Benedictine.
According to Dr. Anthony DeLegge, the Chair of the committee, in previous years students would begin the process by filling out an application and submitting their personal statements during the semester in which they wish to go through the committee. After a series of interviews, the student would then receive an evaluation from the Chair, who would write a committee letter. This letter would be mailed out and a small fee would be paid. The process would usually take a duration of an entire semester to complete.
This year however, students can expect to face a year long process of interviews and evaluations with the new and improved HPRC (Health Professions Recommendation Committee). Students must submit an “intent to participate” form by September 13th, 2019 in order to be eligible to participate in interviews which will commence in Spring 2019. The committee has also gone digital, in order to eliminate the fees that were previously required of the student.
“One of the biggest ways [that these changes will benefit students] will be that, by extending the committee process to a full year instead of a semester, students will have more time to work on their applications, complete their personal statements, and seek individual letters of recommendations from other faculty,” stated Dr. DeLegge.
Interview formats have been changed as well, where the student can expect at least three interviews in which they will meet with faculty members and Ms. Alice Sima who is expected to retire at the end of the fall semester. Her replacement as the committee member has yet to be hired. Dr. Tischler is expected to be working with students from previous semesters who have already undergone the HSRC process, however she will not be reviewing students undergoing HPRC this year. When asked how these modifications would affect students who planned to graduate within a semester, Dr. Schurman stated that while this year will be a year of transition, the committee will work with such students who are on a tighter deadline.
“If I had waited and gone through HPRC, I would’ve wondered what it would’ve been like had I done it earlier (prior to the modifications).” continued Odeh. “I have some friends who are going through the process and are worried about the potential difficulties the modifications may entail”
Students with any questions are being directed to Dr. DeLegge who will address their concerns regarding HPRC.