Ithaca College announced Wednesday that the Rochester, N.Y., component of its physical therapy program will be moved to the college’s South Hill campus in Fall 2014.
Physical therapy students were informed of the plan in an email from Linda Petrosino, dean of the School of Health Science and Human Performance. The email said the 2013-13 academic year will be used to implement a transition plan in order to provide the best learning environment for students. The final year of the six-year program, which has been located in Rochester since 1991, will move to renovated facilities in Ithaca beginning in the fall of 2014.
“We believe that uniting the program on one campus will best serve the long-term educational interests of our students and faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy, the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, and Ithaca College as a whole.”
The recommendation to “evaluate the opportunity to consolidate current Rochester Center operations to the main campus in Ithaca” was proposed in Ithaca College’s Effectiveness and Affordability Review, conducted by the Huron Consulting Group last academic year. Huron advised “the evaluation would need to consider space requirements in Ithaca and programmatic facility needs [the cadaver dissection lab].” The consolidation, according to Huron, could save the college about $600,000.
In February, about 25 sixth-year physical therapy students carpooled from Rochester to Ithaca to attend a public discussion of Huron’s Effectiveness and Affordability Review. The students gave input as to why they think the Rochester Center is an integral part of the physical therapy program and why the college should not consolidate the Rochester Center. Read the full story here.
In an Intercom announcement about the new plan, President Tom Rochon said there are also non-monetary benefits for moving the Rochester Center programs to South Hill.
“Expanding the physical therapy program on our home campus will allow for a greater integration of the undergraduate and graduate experience for those students and faculty, in addition to advancing the principles of the campus-wide IC 20/20 initiative and Integrative Core Curriculum,” Rochon said.
Marisa Kelly, provost and vice president for educational affairs, said the same programs that were offered to students in Rochester will be available to them on South Hill. She said students should expect the same quality experience after the move.
“We are right now in the middle of a significant renovation to the Hill Center with some fairly modest adjustments. We are going to be able to duplicate the key physical components of the plan that is, the labs, etcetera, that are available in Rochester, so in fact, before any students are here, we believe the facilities will be equivalent,” Kelly said.
Kelly said she thinks the new plan will allow students to work more closely with faculty and other programs within the school.
“It became very clear that this move will really allow for greater integration of the undergraduate and graduate experience for students and faculty in physical therapy as well as allowing for greater integrated health sciences curriculum across the School of Health Science and Human Performance,” Kelly said.
Kaitlyn Mueller, a rising-sophomore physical therapy student, said she was shocked when she first read the email about the Rochester Center closing, even though she had heard rumors about it all year. She said one of the reasons she came to Ithaca College was for the program in Rochester.
“I know some upperclassmen who are in the PT program that I’m friends with, and they said it was the best year they had at IC, it was so much fun, you should look forward to it. So when I first heard the news I was kind of upset that I’m not going to be able to be a part of that experience,” Mueller said.
As she read through the email, Mueller said she understands the reasons for cancelling the Rochester Center and that they make sense.
Kelly said the goals for moving the Rochester Center are made mainly for educational purposes, not just financial ones. Overall, Kelly said, the money that the college saves will be used to help students of all majors, not just physical therapy students.
“They are ultimately a part of our efforts to be as efficient and effective as possible so that we can keep tuition increases to the absolute minimum, affecting all Ithaca College students as a result,” Kelly said.