The Grand Rapids Press/September 01, 2009
Grand Valley State University will guarantee three University of Michigan undergrads each year early admission to its master's program in occupational therapy under a partnership in the fall.
Representatives of both universities were to sign papers establishing the new "early assurance program" this afternoon at GVSU's Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.
Such programs are highly competitive and allow institutions to attract the brightest students who apply during their junior year.
"The agreement really helps leverage the state's resources in a way that makes sense for everybody," said Jean Nagelkerk, GVSU's vice provost for health. "Our program is highly regarded and extremely competitive, even though five additional slots have been added for this year."
GVSU will agree to admit three students annually from U-M's School of Kinesiology, as long as they meet requirements for the program, and provide advisory services to them during their senior year at U-M.
GVSU admits 25 students a year, about half of students who apply. By the second year of the early assurance program, 12 percent of students in the program will be from UM.
The master's program is taught at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences in Grand Rapids.
The arrangement reduces the pressure on U-M to offer a master's program in occupational therapy, Nagelkerk said.
GVSU's occupational therapy program is one of six in Michigan. The others are at Western Michigan University, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University and Baker College in Flint.
Occupational therapy is a growing field. Therapists work with patients with mental, physical, developmental or emotional disabilities on daily living tasks and work skills.
A year ago, Michigan State University and GVSU formed an early assurance partnership that guarantees five spots in MSU's College of Human Medicine for qualified Lakers.
Nagelkerk said the occupational therapy early assurance program is the first formal partnership between GVSU and U-M, but the universities are exploring several ways to team up on academic programs.