Montana board of regents level II request form

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Attachment #1



Item Number:

   -    -R    

Date of Meeting:



CIP Code


Program Title:

Master's in Athletic Training

Level II proposals require approval by the Board of Regents.

Level II action requested (check all that apply): Level II proposals entail substantive additions to, alterations in, or termination of programs, structures, or administrative or academic entities typically characterized by the (a) addition, reassignment, or elimination of personnel, facilities, or courses of instruction; (b) rearrangement of budgets, cost centers, funding sources; and (c) changes which by implication could impact other campuses within the Montana University System and community colleges. Board policy 303.1 indicates the curricular proposals in this category:
1. Change names of degrees (e.g. from B.A. to B.F.A.)

2. Implement a new minor or certificate where there is no major or no option in a major;

3. Establish new degrees and add majors to existing degrees;

4. Expand/extend approved mission; and

5. Any other changes in governance and organization as described in Board of Regents’ Policy 218, such as formation, elimination or consolidation of a college, division, school, department, institute, bureau, center, station, laboratory, or similar unit.
Specify Request:
This is a request to move the undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program which offers a BS in Athletic Training to a 5 year combined Bachelors/Masters Degree (Bachelor of Science in HHP (Exercise Science Option)/ Masters in Athletic Training). 

Curriculum Proposals

  1. Overview
    The Department of Health and Human Performance respectfully proposes the transition of our undergraduate athletic training education program into an entry-level Master’s program, using a 3-2 model. Students wishing to enter the profession of athletic training will be able to complete 3 years of pre-requisite courses and general education requirements followed by 2 years in a professional program (including summers). Upon completion of the fourth year, students will obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in HHP Exercise Science Option. This transition to an accelerated Entry-Level Master’s program is attractive for several reasons. This allows our program to continue to meet the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) requirements ( and dynamic athletic training educational reform. We will also attract a more diverse student group (student athletes, out of state students, transfer students) as well as provide students with the opportunity to graduate with a Master’s degree as they enter the work force. In this model we are able to collaborate with more institutions throughout the state and possibly the region to allow our students a wider selection of clinical education experiences. If this program is approved, the University of Montana would be the third program in the nation to adopt this education model.

  1. Provide a one paragraph description of the proposed program. Be specific about what degree, major, minor or option is sought.
    The proposed athletic training education program is designed for students wishing to become certified athletic trainers and who wish to advance their studies in the profession. An accelerated 3-2 model is being proposed whereby the student will complete three years of pre-requisite courses and general education requirements followed by two years in an entry-level professional program. At the end of the fourth year, students will have completed their degree requirements for a BS in HHP - Exercise Science option. While in the professional program, students will also complete a substantial number of clinical hours in allied medical settings that include colleges, high schools, physician clinics, and physical therapy clinics. Upon completion of the proposed program, students will possess a BS in HHP (Exercise Science option) and a Master's in Athletic Training. 

  1. Need

  1. To what specific need is the institution responding in developing the proposed program?
    The need for transitioning the current undergraduate athletic training education program (BS in Athletic Training) to a graduate level Entry-Level Athletic Training Education Program (Master's in Athletic Training) has been noted in a number of different ways. This transition directly addresses the Board of Regent’s initiative to build competitive graduate and research programs.The development of this program is also consistent with the University of Montana’s Strategic Plan “to strengthen and broaden graduate and research programs and increase graduate enrollments”and also addresses the goal of the College of Education and Human Sciences to increase the overall number of graduate students. Currently, there are only 25 accredited Entry-Level Master’s Athletic Training Education Programs in the country. The first entry-level Master's program in Athletic Training was established in 1996 and each year an increased number of programs has been noted (primarily due to entry-level undergraduate programs moving to entry-level Master's programs) ( Advanced levels of education in the profession of athletic training are warranted under most circumstances (a Master’s Degree is preferred in a majority of the professional occupations and greater than 70% of practicing certified athletic trainers possess a Master's degree) ( The athletic training profession is at the front end of its market curve. The National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and Cerfitied Athletic Trainers/Licensed Athletic Trainers (ATC’s/LATs) are now recognizing that their professional skills have value outside athletic departments. Others in hospitals, clinics, physician offices and industrial workplaces are also beginning to recognize their value. But because market penetration in the designated primary target markets is so small, it is likely that faster and higher growth than normal will occur, at least from a percentage standpoint. The projected numbers are as follow: Employment of athletic trainers is projected to grow 37 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations, because of their role in preventing injuries and reducing healthcare costs ( . Job growth will be concentrated in the healthcare industry, including hospitals and offices of health practitioners. Fitness and recreation sports centers also will provide new jobs, as these establishments grow and continue to need additional ATCs/LATs to provide support for their clients. The need for ATCs/LATs in positions with sports will remain constant, however, as most professional sports clubs and colleges and universities already have complete athletic training staffs. The demand for preventive healthcare is expected to grow as the population ages and as a way to reduce healthcare costs. Increased licensure requirements and regulation has led to a greater need and acceptance of athletic trainers as qualified healthcare providers. As a result, third-party reimbursement is expected to continue to grow for athletic training services. Athletic trainers will benefit from this expansion because they provide a cost-effective way to increase the number of health professionals in offices or other settings. (At the state level, Montana employs 100 certified athletic trainers. The projected annual percent change is 1.9. Overall, health care services have a projected percentage change of 21 over the next ten years. (Data taken from the Montana Labor Market Statistics, 2010).

  2. How will students and any other affected constituencies be served by the proposed program?
    The recent expansion and growth of athletic training into a variety of clinical settings warrants further education and experience. Rather than seeing athletic trainers only work in the traditional settings of high schools and colleges, athletic trainers can also be found in medical clinics, physician offices, hospitals, business industries, the performing arts and Federal Agencies (i.e. US Military and US Forest Service). As a result, the need to expand our clinical education offerings to students is evident. This program will provide a greater potential to collaborate with and establish more partnerships within the state of Montana and surrounding Northwest Territory. Currently, the athletic training education program affiliates with 10 different health care facilities to provide UM students with clinical education experiences (Active Physical Therapy, Alpine Physical Therapy, Peak Performance Physical Therapy, Hellgate High School, Big Sky High School, Sentinel High School, Curry Health Center, Missoula Family Medical Center, Rhinehart Athletic Training Center and UM-Western). Upon approval, we will be able to expand our affiliations with the University of Great Falls, MSU-Billings, Carroll College, Montana Tech, Montana State University, as well as high schools and clinics in the Kalispell, Butte, Helena, and Northwest Region. The newly designed curriculum allows for more opportunities for students in their 2nd year of the professional program to travel and gain clinical education experiences outside of Missoula. The development of this program will increase the competitiveness of our athletic training students in clinical settings for a number of reasons. Graduate students are given priority for rotations at these clinical sites and our undergraduate students often are restricted from rotations or minimally integrated into these rotations. In addition, it is predicted that a graduate level program will improve the quality and maturity of students attracted to our program and attract more out-of-state students to the athletic training program.This program will also provide an opportunity for student athletes who are interested in becoming certified athletic trainers to apply to this program. Currently student athletes’ schedules conflict with the undergraduate athletic training clinical education rotations which prohibits them from Majoring in athletic training. Historically, many student athletes have desired to major in athletic training but were forced to change because of a required time commitment to their sports.

  3. What is the anticipated demand for the program? How was this determined?
    The current athletic training education program has approximately 80 pre-professional students and 16 professional students. The average class size admitted into the current professional program is between 8 and 10 students (data collected from previous enrollments in the athletic training education program). With the development of the new program, and an increased potential for attracting and recruiting more students, it is estimated that the graduate program will admit/accept 12-15 graduate students per year. 

  1. Institutional and System Fit

  1. What is the connection between the proposed program and existing programs at the institution?
    The existing program at the University of Montana is an accredited entry-level undergraduate program offering a BS degree in Athletic Training. The proposed program will move this program to an entry-level graduate program offering a Masters in Athletic Training. 

  2. Will approval of the proposed program require changes to any existing programs at the institution? If so, please describe.
    With the approval of the proposed program, the undergraduate program in athletic training would be phased out and eliminated. The proposed plan would be to market the new program nationwide (brochures, emails, etc) academic year 2012-2013 and begin accepting applications in spring 2013. The graduate program would officially begin summer of 2013. The undergraduate program would be phased out with the final group of professional students graduating spring 2014.

  3. Describe what differentiates this program from other, closely related programs at the institution (if appropriate).
    The proposed program will provide students with more diverse clinical education experiences due to the ability to affiliate with more clinical sites in the state and region. In addition, the curriculum will be able to focus more on conducting research and inquiry in athletic training to enhance "evidence based" education to athletic training students. With the proposed program, students may matriculate to the program in different ways: 1)students may take 3 years of pre-requisite courses and apply for admission into the graduate program for their final two years; 2)transfer students may take pre-requisite courses elsewhere and transfer into the institution for their final two years of graduate work; 3)students may elect to complete a bachelor's degree elsewhere and then apply to the proposed program for 2 years of graduate work. 

  4. How does the proposed program serve to advance the strategic goals of the institution?
    This transition directly addresses the Board of Regent’s initiative to build competitive graduate and research programs.The development of this program is consistent with the University of Montana’s Strategic Plan “to strengthen and broaden graduate and research programs and increase graduate enrollments”and also addresses the goal of the College of Education and Human Sciences to increase the overall number of graduate students.

  5. Describe the relationship between the proposed program and any similar programs within the Montana University System. In cases of substantial duplication, explain the need for the proposed program at an additional institution. Describe any efforts that were made to collaborate with these similar programs; and if no efforts were made, explain why. If articulation or transfer agreements have been developed for the substantially duplicated programs, please include the agreement(s) as part of the documentation.
    Currently, Montana has two accredited athletic training education programs- the current program here at the University of Montana, established in 1971 and an entry-level Master's program at Montana State-Billings, established in 2006. The core content of the curriculum offered in both programs have some similarities and both meet accreditation standards set forth by CAATE; however the clinical rotations offered and the resources available for students at each institution differ (ex: students in the professional program at the University of Montana have access to a cadaver lab; students at MSU-Billings have more clinical sites in a physician based setting). The recruiting base for students into either program is geographically different due to the distance between Billings and Missoula. The UM Athletic Training Education Program typically attracts students from the Northwest region, such as Idaho, western Montana, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and a few students from Wyoming. MSU-Billings AT program typically attracts more students from the Dakotas, Wyoming, eastern Montana and Idaho. Because there are similarities in the two programs, we have met with the program director and administrators from MSU-Billings over the past year and have developed a unique and innovative plan to collaborate and develop a formal partnership over the next 7-10 years (Appendix C). The initial phase of collaboration is currently underway this fall, as we have integrated a MSU-Billings student into our clinical education program. 

  1. Program Details

  1. Provide a detailed description of the proposed curriculum. Where possible, present the information in the form intended to appear in the catalog or other publications. NOTE: In the case of two-year degree programs and certificates of applied science, the curriculum should include enough detail to determine if the characteristics set out in Regents’ Policy 301.12 have been met.
    This program is designed for students seeking certification as an athletic trainer who wish to advance their study in the profession. Individuals who complete the graduate program will be prepared for a career at the high school, community college, college/university, industrial, corporate, military, professional sports, sports medicine clinic, physician extender, or academic setting. Admission requirements for the graduate program include: acceptance into the University of Montana's graduate school; a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all college coursework; all required pre-athletic training courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Grades C- or lower are not acceptable; documentation of 75 hours of observation under a Certified Athletic Trainer; at least 40 hours must be completed in a traditional setting such as a college or high school; submit official transcript(s) of all previous college coursework; minimum of “C” or higher in the following courses or their equivalents (course syllabi are required): Anatomy and Physiology , General and Inorganic Chemistry , Nutrition , Use and Abuse of Drugs/Pharmacology , Applied Anatomy and Kinesiology , Motor Control and Learning , Exercise Physiology , Intro to Psychology , Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries with Lab , Statistics; Completion of general education requirements; Completion of the Writing proficiency exam; Complete an entrance athletic training essay (letter of interest); Submit a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation, at least one must be from a Certified Athletic Trainer; Completed interview process; Students must meet established technical standards and pass a physical examination by a physician; Students must be currently certified in Health Care Provider CPR/Professional Rescuer CPR and First Responder. In the student's third year of coursework, they will complete the application to the graduate school and to the athletic training education program by March 1st. Upon completion of the application process, students will be notified of acceptance into the graduate program by May 15th. If a student is not accepted into the program, he or she may reapply the following year or continue at the University of Montana to complete a bachelor's degree in exercise science. Appendix A outlines the 5 year plan of study. The graduate program is designed to begin in the summer with one course. The first year course sequence focuses on the core content areas in the profession of athletic training and is supplemented with clinical rotations that will be in the Missoula area. After the first year of coursework, students will complete two additional courses and one clinical rotation at a health care facility during the first summer session. The second year in the program focuses on advancing the skills and knowledge learned in the first year and students will be placed in clinical rotations either in the Missoula community or with other clinical sites in the state or region. Online Courses will be offered for students who are completing clinical education outside the Missoula area. In the second year of study, students will be required to complete a thesis, professional paper or comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Upon completion of the 2 year entry-level Master's curriculum, students will be eligible to sit for the national Board of Certification (BOC) examination to become a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). 

  2. Describe the planned implementation of the proposed program, including estimates of numbers of students at each stage.
    Upon approval of the proposed program, the first applications would be accepted spring 2013. This will allow the department and athletic training faculty time to market the graduate program on a local, regional and national level. Summer 2013 would mark the beginning of the entry-level master's curriculum for the AY 2013-2014. During this year, the final class of the existing undergraduate program will graduate spring 2014. The first graduating class from the proposed entry-level master's program will be spring 2015. It is anticipated that the first class to be accepted for Summer 2013 would have 10-12 students. For 2014 and 2015 we are projecting numbers closer to 15, for a program total of 25-30 students in the graduate program. Numbers are based on current trends in application and enrollments in the undergraduate entry-level athletic training education program at UM. 

  1. Resources

  1. Will additional faculty resources be required to implement this program? If yes, please describe the need and indicate the plan for meeting this need.
    With the proposed program some additional resources are necessary to implement the curriculum. Currently, the Department of Health and Human Performance has 14 full-time faculty members who are tenured or tenure-track; one faculty member is dedicated to the athletic training education program full-time and one faculty member splits responsibility as chair of the department and faculty member dedicated to the athletic training education program. In addition to full-time faculty, there are 12 part-time adjunct faculty (many have terminal degrees). With the expansion of clinical sites to the surrounding region, assistance is necessary to supervise these clinical sites. Currently, the Clinical Director of Athletic Training, Valerie Moody, is responsible for the direct placement and oversight of all athletic training students and their clinical placements in 10 different facilities. This involves a great deal of paperwork, communication, and travel to sites on a regular basis to meet rigorous CAATE accreditation standards. This responsibility is completed by Valerie in addition to full-time teaching, research, and service activities. Additionally, with the proposed graduate program, a thesis or professional paper are options for athletic training students. With only 1 and half dedicated faculty to the athletic training program, it is not likely that these individuals could carry the load of overseeing 15-20 theses/professional papers. With the projected number of students in the proposed graduate program, it is estimated that half of those students will elect to complete a thesis or professional paper, which would require extra time and effort by faculty to support these projects. Assistance with the oversight of new clinical sites, teaching courses, and supervising thesis/professional papers will be essential in the new curriculum and this could occur by hiring a full-time clinical faculty position. To partially meet the funding needs for this position, money from the program fee and money already in the department set aside for athletic training instruction could be used (see Appendix B) It is estimated that half the position could be funded from this. We would seek remaining funds necessary for this position from the college/university.With the intended collaboration between MSU-Billings and our program, resources could be shared between programs (see Appendix C). 

  2. Are other, additional resources required to ensure the success of the proposed program? If yes, please describe the need and indicate the plan for meeting this need.
    Currently, the undergraduate program relies heavily on laboratory fees to support the purchasing of equipment necessary to deliver the athletic training curriculum. As a result of limited financial resources, students incur some additional out of pocket expenses to be enrolled in the professional program. Students must pay for criminal background checks, clothing, software and equipment such as lab coats, medical packs, and scissors. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Performance currently supplies the funding for accreditation fees to maintain the academic program. Lastly, the athletic training education program relies heavily on the use of practicing athletic trainers to supervise the athletic training students in clinical rotations. Currently, these athletic trainers are not being compensated for their time supervising students. To remedy the burden placed on the Department of Health and Human Performance, the athletic training students and Clinical Instructors serving our program, a program fee of $150 per credit for athletic training courses is proposed to support the costs of the academic program. (Proposed Budget - Appendix B) 

  1. Assessment

How will the success of the program be measured?
Currently, as part of the requirements to maintain CAATE accreditation, the entry-level undergraduate program has developed a comprehensive assessment plan that is re-visited on a yearly basis. As a result, several assessment tools have already been developed and will be used for the proposed entry-level Master's program. The entry-level Master's in Athletic Training Education Program will utilize several methods of evaluation to monitor the progress of the program. Program success will be assessed by evaluating student success on the national Board of Certification(BOC) exam, employment rates, employer satisfaction surveys, alumni surveys, student evaluations of coursework, student evaluations of program directors and clinical instructors, and clinical instructors evaluations of students and program. Each graduate student will be evaluated at the mid-term of each term by themselves and by their clinical site supervisors. This will happen again at the end of the semester. This will help to identify any strengths and weaknesses of the students, clinical instructors, and clinical rotations. Indication of success will include a first time passing rate on the BOC exam of greater than 80%, enrollment of 12-15 students per class, job placement in the athletic training profession greater than 80%, and scores averaging greater than 80% on all subjective evaluations. This assessment plan and benchmarks are currently in place at the undergraduate level and will be continued with the proposed program. 

  1. Process Leading to Submission

Describe the process of developing and approving the proposed program. Indicate, where appropriate, involvement by faculty, students, community members, potential employers, accrediting agencies, etc.
The initial discussion of the transition from an undergraduate athletic training program to an entry-level master's program took place between athletic training faculty members, Scott Richter and Valerie Moody spring 2009. Informal discussions with other Certified Athletic Trainers practicing in Missoula, student alumni from the athletic training education program and discussions at professional meetings (with other athletic training education program directors) took place spring and fall 2009. Valerie Moody developed the proposal for the accelerated entry-level master's program spring 2010 and it was reviewed by Scott Richter prior to taking this to the Department of Health and Human Performance faculty. Over the course of three faculty meetings in spring 2010, the HHP faculty discussed the proposal at length and modifications were made based on faculty feedback. Late spring 2010, Scott Richter contacted the Program Director, Suzette Nynas, of the entry-level Master's in Athletic Training at MSU-Billings to notify her of our intent to move forward with proposing a graduate program. An email was also sent September 10, 2010 to notify her of our continued intent to move forward with this proposal. Scott Richter and Valerie Moody formally met with the UM Athletic Training Staff, who serve as adjunct faculty and clinical supervisors for the students, in May to discuss the proposal. Other clinical supervisors in the Missoula community were contacted and the proposal discussed over the summer 2010. All constituents associated with the current AT program (faculty and clinical instructors) supported the move towards an entry-level master's program. Scott Richter has had numerous discussions with Roberta Evans, the Dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, over the past year and a half about transitioning the undergraduate program to a master's level program with full support. Valerie and Scott have also met with Carol Durnford, Associate Director of Enrollment Services- Financial Aid to discuss the move of our program to a master's degree and have discussed the program fee and financial aid available to potential students. The final draft of the proposal was submitted to the HHP Graduate Committee and approved by faculty of HHP on September 15, 2010. Bonnie Allen, Dean of librarians received a copy of the proposal in early September and approved the proposal October 14, 2010.

Dean Bobbie Evans, Department Chair Scott Richter, and Program Director Valerie Moody first met via Vision Net with MSU-Billings December 17, 2010 to discuss collaboration between the two athletic training education programs. Subsequently, we followed up with a trip to Bozeman on January 3, 2011 to meet with Dean Diane Duin, Department Chair Russell Lord and Program Director Suzette Nynas, in a face-to-face meeting. Upon leaving the meeting in Bozeman, we developed what we feel could be a groundbreaking model for athletic training education. After receiving constructive feedback from the graduate council this past spring, the proposal has undergone revisions. Discussions continued to take place between Valerie Moody and Suzette Nynas over the summer and this fall marks the beginning of our collaboration with MSU-Billings. We are currently hosting an MSU-B student here on campus for a clinical rotation working with the Griz football team this fall. This student has been fully integrated into our clinical education program and is currently taking two courses here at UM, while maintaining dual enrollment at MSU-Billings.

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