Senate Document Number 4599S

Date of Senate Approval 4/08/99

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:




MAY 1, 1999

Constituent Institution: University of North Carolina at Asheville

API Discipline Specialty Title: (1) Public Health Promotion

API Discipline Specialty Number: (1) 51.2207 Level: Baccalaureate

Type of Degree: B.S.

Program Tracks: Health and Fitness


Substantive Change Questions

Proposed programs would change the level of accreditation of the Institution: No

Proposed programs are at a more advanced level than those previously authorized: No

Proposed programs are in a new discipline division: Yes

Does this proposal constitute a substantive change as defined by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: No

Proposed date of establishment: August, 2000

1. Description of the proposed new degree program:

Currently, the Department of Health and Fitness at UNCA offers a minor in Health Promotion. The University of North Carolina at Asheville now seeks authorization to establish a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program in Health and Fitness; B.S. in Public Health Promotion. The program definition and educational objectives of the proposed major are outlined below.

Public Health Promotion (CIP definition - An instructional program that prepares public health specialists to provide specialized educational and informational services to populations affected by disease outbreak, health hazards, or who are at risk. Includes instruction in health publicity, public relations, public health campaign management, preparation of public health teaching aids and instructional materials, and applications to specific public health problems and campaign audiences.) In addition to the definition above, the scope of the proposed program in Public Health Promotion at UNCA will entail an emphasis being placed on the natural and social sciences, along with intergenerational and multi cultural considerations for Public Health in the 21st century.


a. To prepare students to think critically from a broad perspective and function effectively on a personal and professional level in the 21st Century health care and/or health promotion/disease prevention environment

b. To enable students to understand the health promotion/disease prevention needs of an inter-generational and diverse population, and translate that understanding into quality education and support services for all citizens

c. To assist students in understanding the multidimensional nature of human health; the evidence-based biological, biochemical, psychological, and social factors which play a role in preserving health and quality of life

d. To enable students to develop educational materials and delivery systems focused on Public Health Promotion/Disease Prevention

e. To prepare students to assess disease prevention needs in diverse populations, establish educational objectives, create and advertise relevant health promotion programs to address needs, deliver programs and evaluate outcomes

f. To give students the necessary educational and service learning experiences to pursue post-graduate study and/or careers in public health, health promotion, medicine, allied health, intergenerational community and hospital-based health education, and/or corporate health and wellness

A Unique Degree Program Consistent with the University's Mission

The first two paragraphs of the University's mission statement read as follows:

The University of North Carolina at Asheville is distinctive within the public higher education system of North Carolina in its primary mission: to offer an undergraduate liberal arts education of superior quality for serious and able students. The University also provides selected pre-professional programs which are solidly grounded in the liberal arts.

The University is committed to a liberating education emphasizing the central role of humane values in thought and action, the free and rigorous pursuit of truth, and a respect for differing points of view and heritage. It aims to develop men and women of broad perspective who think critically and creatively and who communicate effectively.

The University of North Carolina at Asheville, with its distinctive mission as North Carolina's Public Liberal Arts Institution and its national reputation as a best buy, along with Asheville's strong and diverse health care and retirement community, make this campus and region ideal for a unique and progressive liberal learning experience for students of health and fitness. New degree programs in Health and Fitness will offer students an opportunity for the free and rigorous pursuit of the truth in an environment where they are encouraged to observe their own preconceived cognitive commitments regarding the nature of human health while thinking critically about the scientific evidence supporting health promotion/disease prevention initiatives. While being grounded in the natural and social sciences, students also will have opportunities to explore other philosophical and multi cultural points of view and heritage in relation to health promotion/disease prevention.

Human health...depends primarily on those conscious and deliberate choices

by which we select our mode of life and adapt creatively to its experience.

Rene Dubos


According to the National Center for Health Statistics, heart disease continues to be our nation's number one killer, even though mortality rates from heart attack have dropped in the U.S. by one third since 1980. Credit for this reduction goes to advances in medical treatment and health promotion/disease prevention efforts. Still, 500,000 deaths occur each year due to heart disease, 45% of which involve people under age 65. The tragedy is that most of these deaths could have been prevented or postponed through preventive strategies.

Only 18% of all adults are free of preventable risk factors for heart disease ( i.e. high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyle) and only 10% of adults over age 50 are free of these risk factors. According to Elizabeth Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H., co-founder and president of the American Council on Science and Health and recipient of the 1996 Ethics Award from the American Institute of Chemists, the primary aim for professionals in public health and epidemiology should be to teach and assist people in the avoidance of premature disease and death. Dr. Whelan's view is consistent with the intended thrust of the proposed degree program in Public Health Promotion at UNCA; the prevention of premature disease and death.

Heart disease, while being our nations top killer, is but one of the preventable causes of premature disease, disability, and death in the U. S.. Students of public health promotion also must have a strong grasp of the variables which contribute to and prevent other leading causes of premature death, disease, and disability, e.g., cancer, stroke, infectious diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, and homicide.

Strong consideration will be given in the degree program to creating a curriculum which nurtures a broad and liberating view of human health and prevention through the study of biology, chemistry, sociology, psychology, philosophy, public health, management, multimedia, political science, and economics, to name a few. The UNCA curriculum, while being consistent with similar liberal arts institutions, will seek to broaden the Public Health Promotion student's perspective with which to pursue the truth. UNCA students will achieve this through the rigorous study of numerous disciplines, involvement in quantitative and qualitative scientific inquiry, a commitment to service learning, and through the exploration of diversity as it relates to our evolving understanding of human health.

The interdisciplinary study of public health and wellness is not a new idea. It is based on the beliefs first stated by Hippocrates 2,000 years ago and is the reason he is known as the father of modern scientific and preventive medicine. Hippocrates was influenced by Aristotle, who strongly advocated a relationship between philosophy and medicine.

"But it behooves the natural scientist to obtain also a clear view of the

first principles of health and disease....Indeed we may say of most physical

inquirers, and of those physicians who study their art more philosophically,

that while the former complete their works with a disquisition on medicine,

the latter start from a consideration of nature."


One landmark study, in a rapidly growing body of evidence that there is great potential for improving quality and quantity of life among our world community by taking a broader view of what constitutes human health and healing, was conducted by Dean Ornish, M.D., of San Francisco. Dr. Ornish wanted to know if heart disease, our nation's number one killer, could be reversed through lifestyle change alone. The randomly assigned, experimental group of heart disease patients followed a comprehensive regimen which included strict dietary changes, regular moderate exercise, and participation in various stress management classes and techniques. Treatment for control group participants included recommendations to restrict dietary fat to less than thirty percent of daily calories and engage in regular moderate exercise. After one year of participation, most patients in the experimental group, through quantitative pre-and post-measures, showed a significant increase in blood flow to the heart; and in some cases, up to fifty percent improvement. Participants in the control group showed either no improvement in blood flow to the heart or a decrease in blood flow.

This study, while being highly respected, leaves many unanswered questions. What conditions help to create and sustain the motivation for people to change lifelong habits? Which of the experimental group interventions had the greatest impact on the improvement of blood flow to the heart? Does a comprehensive regimen, including stress management, produce a synergistic effect? What constitutes a responsible and effective way of communicating this and other preventive information to a diverse public? Fully appreciating these questions and others from a vast body of research points to a need to reconsider how we choose to educate students of health promotion. In our view, a liberating and interdisciplinary study of public health, as proposed here, would give UNCA students the broad perspective so essential to our mission and to their understanding of public health promotion.

The National Institutes of Health, recognizing this need for a broader perspective on public health in the 21st century, has established an office to serve as a granting agency for research focused on integrative approaches to health care and health promotion/disease prevention. The Department of Health and Fitness at UNCA will create strong ties with this office and will encourage undergraduate research consistent with our mission and the intentions of the NIH.

In addition, this broad perspective on human health will direct the UNCA student to focus on health promotion considerations across the life span, including understanding and addressing the needs of an aging population. Based on research conducted by Mountain Health Care PPO, the number of citizens age 65 and older in Western North Carolina is growing two to eight percent per year and two percent on average nationally. This growth rate suggests there will up to 60,000 more residents in this age group in Western North Carolina by 2030. This growth suggests a much greater need for health promotion/disease prevention in the next century.

Currently, The University of North Carolina at Asheville has achieved a national reputation for addressing the needs of an aging population through its North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement (NCCCR). Beginning with the 1999 spring semester, students who now are minoring in Health Promotion will assume an active role in the wellness education initiatives of the NCCCR College for Seniors. The creation of a degree program in Public Health Promotion will allow the department to expand the linkage with NCCCR as well as to place students in a variety of other service-learning environments. These learning experiences will help students prepare to make a unique contribution regardless of the ages of the populations with which they work or where their careers take them.

To blend liberating thought in Public Health Promotion with the career interests of students, the new degree program will prepare students to enter the job market or graduate/professional study in the health sciences. The B.S. in Public Health Promotion will prepare students for careers in hospital-based wellness programs, senior citizen and/or community-based health education initiatives, corporate health and wellness programs, and progressive fitness centers.

Some students will view the degree program as a pre-professional curriculum with intentions of graduate and/or professional study, e.g., public health, health education, exercise physiology, nutrition science, and medicine. Pre-medicine students who choose to major in Public Health Promotion will be required to select a concentration in the natural sciences, as they would if majoring in biology, chemistry, or any other academic discipline. Regardless of the major selected by pre-med students, the Department of Health and Fitness will maintain its close working relationship with the Biology and Chemistry departments to provide ongoing pre-med support services through our highly successful Hippocrates Program.

Finally, Public Health Promotion students with specialized career interests may choose to take supplemental course work in management, accounting, multimedia, and/or computer science, or perhaps major in one of these areas and minor in the new degree program.

2. Other N.C. institutions operating similar programs

Although five of the other fifteen UNC institutions offer similar degree programs in Health Education, Health and Fitness, Health Promotion (UNC Greensboro - Public Health Education, UNC Charlotte - Health Fitness, UNC Pembroke - Community Health Education, North Carolina Central University - Health Education, and Appalachian State University - Health Promotion), none emphasize an interdisciplinary liberal arts approach to these fields of study and practice. Of the three universities in closest proximity to UNCA, i.e., WCU, ASU, and UNCC, only Appalachian State University operates a similar program. And, while ASU offers a similar program, UNCA, through its distinct liberal arts mission, has the opportunity to introduce a unique, broader-based interdisciplinary approach to the study of Public Health Promotion.

3. Current and projected demand for graduates

Public Health Promotion

According to National Wellness Institute Consultants in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the interest in Health Promotion is such a recent phenomenon, data have not been collected to yield insight into projected demand for graduates. Nevertheless, the emergence of public and private wellness program initiatives, along with mounting evidence regarding the necessity for addressing lifestyle issues in Public Health, suggests that students trained in Public Health Promotion will be in high demand during the next century. The aging of the American population should further drive the need for Health Promotion professionals.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook classifies those who work in health promotion as "Adult Education Teachers". Although this is a broad classification, the Handbook reports that employment for adult education teachers is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through the year 2005.

4. Procedures used to plan the proposed new degree program

Keith Ray, Chair of the Department of Health and Fitness, will serve as the person responsible for planning the new degree program. The tentative planning schedule is as follows:

August - October 1998 - On separate occasions Ray meets with Dr. Jim Pitts, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Tom Cochran, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Shirley Browning, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Archer Gravely, Director of Institutional Research, to discuss the possibility of pursuing a new degree program at UNCA - Dr. Gravely and Dr. Browning provide guidance regarding steps and data necessary to initiate a request for authorization to plan a new degree program

September - November, 1998 - collect all data and information necessary to complete a draft of the request for authorization to plan - communicate with all departments potentially involved - draft of request reviewed by administration

November - December, 1998 - any necessary revisions made of request for authorization to plan

January, 1999 - submit request for authorization to plan to University Planning Council for review

January - May, 1999 - subsequent to review and approval by the University Planning Council, submit request for authorization to plan to Faculty Senate for review and approval

May, 1999 - subsequent to review and approval by the UNCA Faculty Senate, request for authorization to plan is forwarded to General Administration in Chapel Hill

August - December, 1999 - subsequent to review and approval of the request to plan by UNC General Administration in Chapel Hill, initiate all necessary steps for completion of the request for authorization to establish a new degree program at UNCA

January, 2000 - submit request for authorization to establish a new degree program to UNC General Administration for review and approval

Spring - Summer 2000 - subsequent to approval of request for authorization to establish by UNC General Administration in Chapel Hill, begin recruiting new faculty and acquiring other needed resources necessary to operate the new degree program - begin work with Admissions at UNCA and complete procedures to effectively market the program to potential students

Fall 2000 - initiate new degree program in Public Health Promotion at UNCA

5. Method of financing the new degree program

Because of current limited resources at UNCA, the operation of this new degree program will require new funding from UNC General Administration. Based on new course work required of majors, it is anticipated that two new full-time faculty positions will be needed. In addition, resources will be needed to update equipment, supplies, and software in our biometrics lab.

As news of the new degree program spreads and the pool of student majors increases, it is anticipated that the increase in student credit hours will fund any future needs for faculty positions and equipment.

6. Estimated number of students enrolled in the program during the first year of operation

Based on a fall 1998 campus-wide survey of students minoring in Health Promotion, and undecided freshmen and sophomores, 35 students indicated an interest in the Public Health Promotion major, should that option become available. Although these numbers were not surprising, the level of excitement expressed in support of the proposed degree program was not anticipated. One student wrote, "I am very excited about the Health Promotion program. Please do consider this seriously; it may keep more people here or bring more in." Another responded, "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go through with this new major. I am extremely interested in it, especially the health promotion aspect. It is exactly what I am interested in. THANK YOU! " Numerous other students said they would not consider transferring to another university if UNCA were to offer Public Health Promotion.

Another source of data regarding potential student interest is the Admissions Department prospect cards which are distributed in their marketing materials and given out at high school college day events. Within the last ten years, these prospect cards yielded 517 potential students with an expressed interest in health. While not an accurate estimation of the number of students who actually would apply, be admitted, and subsequently major in Public Health Promotion (conservatively estimated at 20% of expressed interest), this level of interest suggests that students not otherwise interested in UNCA, might apply for admission if this degree program was offered.

Based on the responses from the prospect cards and the on-campus survey (20% of expressed interest = 17 students), it is conservatively projected that 12-17 students will declare a major in Public Health Promotion during its first year, some of which may be able to graduate by the end of the academic year. However, since students outside the major frequently choose health promotion courses, the SCH's below reflect an average class size of 20 students the first year.

Depending upon how quickly and effectively the new degree program can be marketed to potential students finishing high school or transfers from other universities, this number could grow exponentially over the next several years.

First Year: Full-Time 20 Part-Time 5 SCHs *450

Third Year: Full-Time 25 Part-Time 10 SCHs *750

*SCH figures based on 10 courses per academic year with an average enrollment of 20 students during the first year and 25 students during the third year


Department of Health and Fitness

Associate Professor Ray (Chair); Associate Professor McClary

Note: This document is a tentative curricular framework, is not required at this point in the process, and will not be sent to general administration.

Degree Program in Public Health

I. Required courses in the major - 36 hours as follows:

HF 153 Health Promotion and Wellness (3)

HF 330 Peer Education and Health (3)

ENVR 336 Environmental Health (3)

SOC 362 Sociology of Health and Illness (Med. Soc. and Epidemiology) (3)

HF 380 Fieldwork in Health Promotion (3)

HF 420 Physiology of Exercise (3)

HF 459 Senior Seminar in Health Promotion (3)

(new courses)

HF 2-- Nutrition (3)

HF 2-- Sexuality and Health (3)

HF 3-- Integrative Health Care, Prevention, and Stress Management (3)

HF 3-- Research Methods in Public Health and Sports Medicine (3)

HF 2-- Health Promotion Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation (3)

To achieve a strong core in the natural and social sciences, as suggested in the proposal, these courses may have to be reconfigured to give students the credit-hour flexibility to complete prerequisite requirements in biology, chemistry, psychology, and sociology. Some of the prerequisites may be satisfied through student selection of courses to fulfill general education requirements. These issues will be studied carefully subsequent to being given permission to plan by faculty senate and general administration and prior to requesting permission to establish the degree program.


II. Required courses outside the major - 21-24 hours selected from one area of concentration

Social Science Concentration* Natural Science Concentration*

12-15 hours selected from the Social Sciences 12-16 hours from the Natural Sciences

3-8 hours selected from the Natural Sciences 3-6 hours selected from the Social Sciences

3-9 hours selected from Math, Management, 3-9 hours selected from Math, Management,

and/or Philosophy and/or Philosophy

*Specific courses and credit hour parameters for each concentration will be determined in cooperation with participating departments, administration, and review committees subsequent to receiving permission to plan by GA.

Note: Pre-med students who choose to major in Public Health will be encouraged to select the Natural Science Concentration.

Other departmental requirements:

The senior demonstration of competency is satisfied by the completion of HF 459 and HF 3-- (new) with a grade of C or better. Completion of HF 459 satisfies the University's oral competency requirement.