On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the University of Cincinnati announced that it surpassed the $1 billion goal of its Proudly Cincinnati campaign—four months ahead of the campaign’s June 2013 deadline.
We will be featuring stories to highlight ways the campaign has positively impacted each of the four colleges at the Academic Health Center, improving our tripartite mission of education, research and clinical care.
As UC’s newest college, the College of Allied Health Sciences has seen a meteoritic rise since its founding in 1998. More than 2,800 students are enrolled in the college—both on-campus and in distance learning programs—training to be part of the health care field as physical therapists, speech language pathologists, medical imaging technicians, respiratory therapists, lab technologists, nutritionists and social workers.
The college’s many programs, which educate students from the undergraduate through doctoral level, have only been able to grow through continued investment from faculty, staff and alumni.
Through the Proudly Cincinnati campaign, two faculty members in particular have sought to create opportunities for growth in their departments, using their own gifts to support programs and their leadership roles to communicate the importance of the campaign to others.
Supporting Unexpected Needs in College Departments
Nancy Creaghead, PhD, and Tina Whalen, DPT, EdD, have had long histories at the college. Creaghead serves as professor and department head of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) and Whalen, professor and former department head of rehabilitation sciences, now serves as associate dean. In their roles leading academic departments, they both saw firsthand the needs of a growing college amid tight budgets.
When Whalen took over as rehabilitation sciences department head in 2003, she recalls the department was just starting to put together a new health sciences program.
"Now it’s the one of the biggest undergraduate programs we have, but at the time, it was brand new,” she says. "We needed a piece of equipment, a Monark bicycle, that could be used for both research and teaching, but we didn’t have any money in the budget to purchase it.”
That spurred her to create the Rehabilitation Sciences Discretionary Fund, which she and other faculty now contribute to annually. After the first year, they were able to purchase the bicycle.
"The key to funding in any organization is to have a targeted goal and activities that really resonate with people,” says Whalen. "People can be intimidated by donating—they think they have to give a lot of money to make an impact. But the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.”
As chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the college’s largest department, Creaghead also came face to face with the challenges of supporting a vibrant and expanding community with limited funding.
"As department head, I have experienced the struggles with funding our priorities in times of budget restrictions and cuts,” she says. "I wanted future department heads and faculty to be able to create and expand student and faculty projects—in a way that I often could not due to budget restrictions.”
By creating the Communication Sciences and Disorders Endowed Fund, Creaghead aimed to supply the discretionary funds needed to create new programs or fund faculty and students goals. She hopes the fund will allow CSD faculty and administrators to be creative, even when their new ideas are outside typical budget priorities.
The fund can be used for such needs as purchasing new equipment for research, an expansion of the CSD clinic, funding for clinic clients, student and faculty travel, student scholarships or research assistants. Most importantly, Creaghead says that, as an endowed fund, her gift can "last and grow into a future that is way beyond me.”
Focusing on the Students
Whalen’s and Creaghead’s departments also have dedicated gifts to support students in their programs. The Rehabilitation Sciences Scholarship Fund was seeded by Whalen’s donation and has continued to grow each year, becoming a fund that donors use to support outstanding students.
Whalen says there are very few opportunities for students to receive scholarship assistance during the course of their studies. Through the scholarship fund, faculty are able to recognize two students a year: one undergraduate senior and one doctorate of physical therapy student. Students are chosen for going above and beyond their regular coursework and serves as a role model to others—the kind of student, Whalen says, that the faculty would be proud to have as a member of their field.
For doctoral students focusing on research, Creaghead has directed her recent gifts to student funding through supporting the recently established Robert W. Keith, PhD, Audiology Research Endowment Fund.
The fund was started by Professor Emeritus Robert Keith, PhD, with contributions from his family and other CSD alumni. Once completed, it will support research work of audiology and CSD doctoral students.
Creaghead says funding to support students is a constant and crucial need for the department.
"Every day we receive funding requests from students, for tuition, living expenses, funding for their research, and travel to present it,” says Creaghead.
Funding is especially important, she says, to be able to recruit the best and brightest students to the department’s programs.
"I so appreciate Bob’s gift and the incredible effort that he, his family and our alums gave to making it happen now so that we can begin supporting students in the near future,” she says. "The students who benefit will have many wonderful thank yous and stories to tell.”