SHU to Consolidate and Expand Its College of Education & Health Professions

News Story: April 30, 2007

State-of-the-Art Facility to Be Located in Trumbull

Sacred Heart University’s College of Education and Health Professions is marking its 10th anniversary by expanding to a state-of-the-art 50,000-square-foot facility at 7 Cambridge Drive in Trumbull. The new site will accommodate greatly enlarged classroom and lab spaces as well as dozens of faculty offices and spacious public areas. The move should be completed by July 1st.

Situated just three miles from the University’s main campus in Fairfield, the new center will accommodate programs in Teacher Certification, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training and Exercise Science among others. Together, these departments educate some 300 undergraduates and more than 1,500 graduate students. The move allows Sacred Heart to centralize its professional programs in education and health.  The new facility will provide ready access to on-site library and expanded laboratory space as well as a student lounge and cafeteria. Like the University’s main campus, the new site will be entirely wireless, allowing students to use their laptop computers from anywhere inside or outside the building.

Students will take core and elective courses on campus and will continue to use other University facilities such as residence halls and the William H. Pitt Health & Recreation Center. While there is plenty of on-site parking, an expanded schedule of shuttle bus service will minimize traffic and allow easy access to the new hub.

The transition to a single site comes after more than two years of consultation and the evaluation of numerous options. According to Dr. Patricia W. Walker, Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, the new setting will provide a new state-of-the-art environment that is both convenient and enhances active and engaged learning.  “In just the 10 years since our programs in education and the health professions were brought together in this College, these fields have undergone enormous change.

“To move us toward our newly developed vision, the College required additional classrooms, expanded labs and discipline-specific library resources.  New seminar and tutorial rooms will provide needed space for small group study in our problem-based and team-based learning curricula.  The closer proximity to Cooperative Educational Services (CES), the Kennedy Center, the Visiting Nurse Services (VNS) of Connecticut and other community partners will be an added advantage of the new location.”

Sacred Heart University will invest at least $10 million in the project over the next five years to ensure that students in these high-growth areas have access to up-to-date facilities equipped to accommodate both present and future needs. Dozens of new classrooms will range from seminar spaces designed for about 15 persons apiece to a lecture hall with room for as many as 80 students. Faculty and students will have access to resources that include a computer lab and resource room and a satellite library and media center linked to the resources of the University’s Ryan-Matura Library.      

The center will offer a number of shared accommodations such as the cafeteria, library and computer lab, as well as specialized learning environments. For example, Occupational Therapy will feature an independent living lab, complete with a functioning kitchen and bathroom to model the circumstances of daily living as well as a biomechanical lab and a pediatric lab. The Nursing Department will have three dedicated labs that simulate nursing care environments such as hospital and out-patient facilities. And the Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science areas will have four laboratories including human performance and cardiopulmonary labs. The Education Department will have a reading clinic serving school students in the area, with room for as many as 30 children, and a resource room that will also serve as a model classroom for SHU education students.  In addition, each department will provide space for faculty consultation and research. 

The demand for credentialed professionals such as nurses and teachers has skyrocketed in recent years, and Sacred Heart University has become a state leader in addressing those needs. Dr. Thomas V. Forget, the University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, noted that the past 10 years have seen unparalleled growth in SHU programs in those areas.

“Some recent milestones indicate the level of our commitment,” he pointed out. “We are now the top independent educator of teachers and administrators in the state. We are offering the first Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Connecticut, which will see its inaugural graduates in May, and the first entry-level master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in Connecticut. We pioneered the state’s on-line RN-to-BSN program and have initiated exciting programs in Remedial Reading, Educational Technology, Clinical Nurse Leadership, and Geriatric Health and Wellness. Our new center in Trumbull will allow us to prepare the next generation of leaders in these critical areas – with room to grow for the decade to come.”