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This fall, Shane Keene was named chair of the Department of Analytical and Diagnostic Sciences. Coming from East Tennessee State University, where he was assistant chair and program director for the department of allied health for eight years, he started at the College of Allied Health Sciences in August 2012 to launch the online respiratory therapy program.
In addition to his role as department head, he is the only full-time faculty in the respiratory care program, and works to develop and teach the online courses.
What is the latest news from Analytical & Diagnostic Sciences?
"We’ve had a lot of changes recently. The original department was just two programs—Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS) and Advanced Medical Imaging Technology (AMIT). Now, in a little over a year, we’ve added the Respiratory Therapy program and merged with an existing CAHS department, Health Information Management.
"This past semester, we just launched a brand new online program, the Master’s of Health Information degree. So we’ve gone from two to five programs in a little over a year—which is pretty explosive growth. The new combined department now serves over 900 students.”
What challenges come along with that?
"We don’t have a lot of commonality across our different disciplines, and that has created some challenges. Our programs were all developed at different times, so they are all different credit hours.
"The one thing we do have in common is that our online programs are very much set up the same way. We have a common theme as far as how the courses are set up, developed and run—that helps with management and planning.
"We’re very different in our scope, but when it comes down to the way we are structured, we’re becoming more alike and starting to function as one unit. Another common theme shared throughout the programs is the passion for quality teaching.
"Now, we’re developing a lot of our policies across the department—that’s going to be a process over the next year to facilitate our growth. My goal for the next year is just to get everybody on the same page and further strengthen our vision and our focus on our students.”
What do you see for the future of the department?
"We’re one of the larger online entities at the university, so we’re looking to grow even more online programs. We have great faculty and staff in the department and I am very excited about what the opportunities for the department moving forward.
"To me, it’s really about offering quality programs—not only for our student’s sake, but for our own sustainability. If we don’t grow, other programs will, and that’s where the students will go.
"We’ve seen that online degree completion programs are a great fit for students—they are convenient and they fit into our students’ lifestyle. The challenge for online education is that there’s a preconceived notion that it’s easier, because it’s online, or it’s simpler. In a lot of situations, it’s actually the opposite. It’s much harder. Online students have to have a lot of autonomy and be very self-driven and motivated to get through the process. Having done it both ways myself, being a traditional student and an online student, I always found online classes much more difficult.”
What do you like to do outside your work at UC?
"I love working on my house—I have a big interest in landscaping, hard-scaping, working on outdoor projects and things like that. My wife and I also love to travel and see new places."