SVC's radiology program now at MCLA

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NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a teach-out partner for Southern Vermont College following its closure in the spring, has been ensuring that students in SVC's Radiologic Sciences program are able to complete their degrees without interruption.

Officials said MCLA also hopes to create its own curriculum, which would capitalize on the strengths of the college and the expertise provided by the former SVC faculty members, who were retained.

If approved through the MCLA governance process and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, officials said the new curriculum could go into effect as early as fall 2020 and would enroll both existing and new MCLA students.

Students completing an approved program would be eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists radiography examination.

"We admire the advancement and the achievements of Southern Vermont College's radiologic science program and congratulate the faculty and students who have made it such a success," MCLA President James F. Birge said in a release. "Our community will benefit from the additional expertise that the radiological faculty will bring to campus. As we look toward the future, and as the teach-out college for the SVC originated program, we are excited and happy to be bringing these students and faculty on board."

Joined MCLA faculty

Radiologic sciences faculty members from SVC have joined MCLA's faculty.

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Linda Lippacher, who began the program, continues to lead it at MCLA. Julie Walsh, who served as an assistant professor for 11 years, is now the clinical coordinator, and Alyssa Dufresne, a graduate of the program, also teaches.

"MCLA graciously took on the radiology program, which greatly benefits those students who were studying radiology at SVC," said Lippacher. "There is a current demand for jobs in the health industry, including in radiology. MCLA's adoption of this program will benefit the local community, providing academic opportunities for students in the area, and providing locally trained employees for area health providers."

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Begun in 2003 as a collaboration between SVC and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, the program moved from an associate's degree to a bachelor's degree program in 2012. The program currently has 28 students.

Throughout its existence, the radiologic sciences program has been highly rated nationally, according to the release, and it has a cumulative student pass rate of 97 percent on the national registry.

Melissa Spiezio, director of imaging services at the Bennington medical center, said Tuesday, "It seems like it has been a very seamless transition to MCLA."

She said her hope is that the program can continue and expand at MCLA. While there is not as pronounced a looming shortage of people trained in radiology — as there is around the state and nationally for registered nurses — Spiezio said it is a recruiting advantage for local care providers when trained technicians already live in the area.

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"It's part of MCLA's mission to provide academic programs that meet local and national workforce needs while simultaneously being of interest to current and prospective students," Adrienne Wootters, MCLA's vice president of academic affairs, said. "Adopting the radiology program hits all those marks."

"This was a good effort on their part, and we appreciated their willingness to transfer the program," said David Newell, chairman of the SVC board of trustees.

Another medical education program, SVC's four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing program, also is continuing, after Castleton University established a satellite over the summer for its four-year nursing program in Bennington.

Like the former SVC nursing program, the Castleton program also is in partnership with Southwestern Vermont Health Care, which offers a chance for employment after graduation in the local health care organization and for college tuition reimbursements.

In establishing the work and tuition incentives, SVHC cited the recognized severe shortage of registered nurses as older people in the profession move toward retirement.

Many students pursuing other majors who were displaced by the closure of SVC in the spring also have transferred to MCLA.


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