WMU News

Five WMU programs rated among the top in nation

May 9, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Five graduate programs in Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services were identified as being among the top such programs in the country by
U.S. News & World Report in the magazine's recently released 2002 rankings of the best graduate programs in the nation.

Four of the programs were ranked among the top 50 in the nation among comparable programs, with three being included in the top 30. In addition, a new program in rehabilitation counseling was ranked among the top 60.

The programs include: a master's degree program in physician assistant, which was ranked 23rd; master's programs in occupational therapy and speech pathology, which both were ranked 30th; a master's program in audiology, which was ranked 49th; and the new rehabilitation counseling program that was ranked 60th. The rehabilitation counseling program started in winter 1995.

WMU's occupational therapy and speech pathology programs were the only Michigan programs ranked among the nation's top 30 programs in those disciplines. Both programs are among the University's oldest and were among the first such programs established in the nation. The Department of Occupational Therapy is nearly 80 years old. The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology was founded in 1936.

"Many of our programs enjoy national as well as international reputations," says Dr. Janet Pisaneschi, dean of the college. "The College of Health and Human Services is pleased to contribute to the University's status within and outside the state of Michigan."

Though the college and its various schools and departments are well known to experts in the fields of rehabilitation, occupational therapy, speech pathology, audiology, blind rehabilitation and physician assistant, Pisaneschi points out that many in the community aren't aware of how highly regarded they are.

"These programs are truly treasures," she says, "treasures to the University, treasures to the community and to the people they serve, both directly and indirectly. But I'm afraid they may be hidden treasures that many have yet to discover."

The prominence that such high rankings in a national magazine can bring should not be underestimated, Pisaneschi says.

"Millions of people read U.S. News & World Report," she says. "And of course it's nice to be noticed on such a broad level. But what I really enjoy is that WMU alumni, whether they are graduated by our college or by another, can find their alma mater listed, not once, but five times. The work our faculty members have done can make all of us associated with the University very proud."

For a complete list of rankings, go to the U.S. News & World Report's Web site at <www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/beyond/bcheal.htm>. An abridged version of the guide is also available at newsstands.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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