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Franciscan, Walsh join forces

Contributed AGREEMENTS SIGNED — Timothy J. Collins, president of Walsh University, and the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, signed memorandums of understanding at a special ceremony at Walsh University.

STEUBENVILLE — Franciscan University of Steubenville and Walsh University have entered into an agreement that paves the way for Franciscan students to obtain graduate degrees in physical and occupational therapy at Walsh University and pursue careers as faithful, well-prepared health care professionals.

Starting in the fall, students can earn their bachelor’s degree and doctorate in physical therapy in six years or their bachelor’s and master’s degree in occupational therapy in six years. The two routes provide clinical experience in these fast-growing, highly rewarding health care fields. Students also will benefit from both universities’ small class sizes and strong Catholic intellectual tradition.

“This partnership provides wonderful new opportunities for our students to bring Christ to those in need of healing,” said the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, Franciscan president. “With a firm foundation in Franciscan’s research-driven, faith-inspired science programs and the excellent professional formation of Walsh’s physical therapy and occupational therapy programs, our students will be well-equipped to bring healing and wholeness to the lives of their patients.”

“The history of health care is the history of the Catholic church. Walsh University is thrilled to partner with Franciscan University of Steubenville as we further the education and formation of leaders in service with ethical and professional behaviors that advocate for the rights, health and welfare of all individuals,” said Walsh University President Timothy J. Collins. “We are confident that this work furthering the healing mission of Jesus Christ will provide a stronger foundation for students to enter the health care environment with the compassion and skills necessary to best address their patients’ needs in mind, body, and spirit.”

In the physical therapy pathway, academically qualified students will attend Franciscan University for three years of pre-physical therapy coursework before transferring to Walsh University for three years of the professional phase of their studies. The new agreement will give up to three Franciscan students preferential consideration for admission to Walsh University’s doctor of physical therapy program.

In the occupational therapy pathway, academically qualified students will attend Franciscan University for four years of pre-occupational therapy coursework before transferring to Walsh University for two years of the professional phase of their studies. Students must be accepted into Franciscan’s early assurance program as freshmen and complete their undergraduate degree at Franciscan University. Up to three Franciscan students will receive preferential consideration for admission to Walsh University’s master of occupational therapy program.

Along with Franciscan University, Walsh University is among the Cardinal Newman Guide’s recommended Catholic colleges and universities recognized for providing a faithful Catholic education.

For information about the physical or occupational therapy cooperative programs, contact Eric Haenni, Franciscan University pre-health professional programs coordinator and associate professor of biology, at (740) 284-5273 or ehaenni@franciscan.edu. You can also visit the Franciscan University Physical Therapy Program webpage or Occupational Therapy Program webpage.

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