Progress, growth and differentiation: the College continues to act on its Vision 2020 Strategic Plan

The year 2016 was a remarkable year at Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences. Guided by its principles and values of professionalism, respect, integrity and respecting high academic standards, the College reached a number of important milestones. First, the College successfully completed its reaccreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission – we met all of the Commission’s criteria for accreditation and the Commission continued the accreditation of the College with the next reaffirmation of accreditation in 2025-2026. Second, we revised and published our Vision 2020 Strategic Plan. Third, we created a College-wide, systematic assessment process and designed a structured platform for the implementation of general education and allied health programs. Fourth, we continued to strengthen existing and planned for the expansion of nursing education programs. And fifth, we implemented a robust student support and student life model and concurrently, we drastically extended our development and community outreach efforts. I am extremely proud of these accomplishments. Most importantly, I am thankful to the College faculty, staff and leadership team. Thankful for embracing new ideas; thankful for believing that we, as a community of educators, can be innovative and have much more to offer to our communities; and most importantly, for everyone’s commitment to transitioning our institution into the comprehensive college of health sciences we have been aspiring to be.

Higher education is an active, evolving and dynamic industry. Consequently, 2017 is and will continue to be a year of further action. It is a year to show progress on our plans; to further differentiate ourselves and to continue growing our institution. The College will continue to focus on several fronts. Academically, the College will be offering, effective August of this year, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track within its Master of Science in nursing program. We will start offering our uniquely-designed cadre of general education courses. In addition, we have sought approval to launch our first allied health degrees. Through these programs, it is our hope that the College will now not only serve its nursing students, but will open its doors to more non-traditional students, including working students and adults. In addition, we will be fulfilling important workforce and discipline needs.

Very importantly, the College continues to be true to its commitment to community outreach and we are keeping our promise of reaching out, celebrating multiculturalism and expanding our efforts to promote diversity. The task of making students of all backgrounds welcome on campus and undertaking a leadership role in diversifying the pool of practitioners is now more important than ever. To address this need, we have taken intentional steps to “walk the walk”. For example, we expanded our scholarship program to support diverse and underrepresented minority students; to non-traditional students, such as those pursuing the RN-BSN program; and to graduate students. We continue to establish community partnerships with groups that support minority populations. We have joined efforts and support organizations such as ethnic cultural associations, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Civil Rights Division of the Kansas City Human Relations Department in projects related to access and opportunity. Finally, the College will implement the first, year-long Pathway to Health and Science Education Program. The overall objective of this program is to increase the number of diverse and minority high school students interested in pursuing health and science-related careers by instilling an appreciation for basic science concepts and by providing direct exposure to health professions and research fundamentals.

It is a very exciting time to be affiliated with our institution and I have no doubts that a bright future is ahead of us. As always, thank you for believing in Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences.

Hubert Benitez, DDS, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer