Springfield College Forms New School Of Health Sciences, Rehab

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College will establish a new School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies and has appointed William Susman P.T., Ph.D., as dean. Susman, currently associate dean for academic programs at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, will begin his new post in June, and the school will be operational by September. 

Jean Wyld, Springfield College’s vice president for academic affairs, said the new School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies will structure and expand the college’s longstanding undergraduate and graduate programs in the health sciences with interdisciplinary partnerships among the programs. “This will align our educational programs more closely with the collaborative ways in which health care is delivered today.

“Modern health care is increasingly interdisciplinary, with teams of providers delivering a continuum of care from the moment that a patient faces an acute medical crisis, through clinical care, and into rehabilitation,” Wyld continued. “With the range of programs that we offer, Springfield College is uniquely situated to offer this collaborative preparation for today’s and tomorrow’s health care careers.

Wyld said Susman brings a rare combination of experience in all disciplines of the School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies, as well as a strong background in academic administration. “He shares our commitment to community collaboration and academic excellence,” she said. “He was chosen after a national search, and we are delighted that he will lead this new school.”

The school will include Springfield College’s undergraduate and graduate programs in physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation and disability studies, and emergency medical services management, including the new doctor of physical therapy program which recently won state approval.

Community collaboration will continue to be a key component of the college’s educational programs in health and rehabilitation. Currently, students serve internships or perform volunteer work that is related to their studies at Baystate and Mercy Medical centers, Providence and Shriner’s hospitals, state agencies, schools, health centers and clinics, insurance companies, and other venues. There are plans for Springfield College’s School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies to expand internships and learning through service.

Wyld said that, by organizing health and rehabilitation studies in the new school, Springfield College will be able to better structure undergraduate coursework that is common among the programs, as well as interdisciplinary research. In addition, there will be increased opportunities for collaboration on individual projects involving faculty and students in various disciplines in the school.

Most courses in the new school will be taught at the Springfield College Allied Health Sciences Center. Wyld said this arrangement will foster an interdisciplinary learning community among faculty and students, which will enhance the educational experience. The proximity will also enable faculty and students to develop collaborative service projects, which strengthen their learning while benefiting the community.

Susman was promoted to his present position at Long Island University after having been the institution’s associate dean for rehabilitation sciences from 1996 to 2004, and, in addition, the acting dean of the School of Nursing from 1998 to 2001. He has been director and associate professor in the university’s Division of Physical Therapy since 1990. Earlier in his career, he held positions in rehabilitation or physical therapy education and clinical practice at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Ithaca College, and the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine of New York University Medical Center.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Susman received his certificate in physical therapy from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in pathokinesiology from New York University. He has won federal, municipal, and foundation grants for research in his field, and is the author of numerous published articles.