Appendix F: Distance Education Program Being Planned

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SUBMIT DATE:04/6/2011 
Constituent Institution:UNC at Charlotte 
CIP Discipline Specialty Title:Health Professions and Related Sciences 
CIP Discipline Specialty Number:51.0999 
Level:
Exact Title of the Proposed Program:Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science 
Exact Degree Abbreviation:B.S. 
Date of Initiation:08/1/2011 
Will this sequence of courses be completely individual access (e.g., Internet, videocassette)? YES 
If "yes," what will be the mode of delivery?Web, combination of synchronous and asynchronous at UNC Charlotte and UNC Chapel Hill, with clinical rotations offered UNC Hospitals 
If "no," list proposed sites.

Chapel Hill, NC

 
If short-based, length of time to complete the prog (e.g., 1 year, 18 mos.):2 years 

SACS/COC substantive change questions (1=Procedure One; 2=Procedure Two)

Site-based (where the instructor is present):

Is the institution initiating instruction where the student may earn more than 25% and less than 50% of credits toward a degree at a site 30 miles or more from the campus? (2) YES 
Is the institution initiating an (additional) off-campus site at which students may earn at least 50% of an educational program? (1) NO 
Is the institution adding significantly different degree programs at a currently approved site? (2) NO 
Distance learning (where instructor and student are geographically separated):
Is the institution offering its first credit courses via technology-based instruction by which students can obtain at least 25% of credits toward a degree program? (2) NO 
Is the institution expanding a previously reported program from less than 50% of credits to 50% or more of a degree program? (2) NO 
Is the institution adding a significantly different program from previously reported programs offered via technology-based instruction? (2) YES 
Does this action constitute a substantive change? If so, by what date should SACS be notified? 07/31/2011 
1. Briefly describe the proposed program and intended audience.

The Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Services at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in collaboration with the Departments of Allied Health Sciences and Neurology in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, requests permission to plan a post-professional baccalaureate degree program in neurodiagnostics and sleep science (NDSS). Potential students for this program are Sleep Technologists and Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists who are already registered and practicing, but who want to pursue a BS degree to expand their professional knowledge and expand opportunities for career advancement. The NDSS program will provide a broad-based foundation for sleep science professionals to gain vital skills of critical thinking and creative problem solving needed for key leadership, educational, and management roles in this emerging discipline. We anticipate that the program’s prospective students will be motivated and qualified practitioners who want to pursue this degree to become the institutional, educational, and health care leaders needed in this field. The proposed program will be the first of its type in the nation and will set the national standard for future BS degrees in NDSS.

 
2. Describe the proposed instructional delivery systems (e.g., on-site instruction by faculty, interactive video, Internet, etc.).

 

Instruction for the proposed NDSS post-professional program will combine web-based distance education courses, on-campus and virtual laboratory sessions, clinical rotations, research projects, and campus/community presentations.

Distance education courses will utilize software and services available through the University (Wimba) as well as open source content management systems, such as Moodle and Sakai, which have minimal to no cost.

Laboratory instruction will take place on-campus and virtually via video-conferencing classrooms in the Health Science Library and the UNC Hospitals Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory and Sleep Disorders Center.

Clinical rotations will take place through hospitals, specialized sleep and epilepsy labs, private physician practices, educational institutions, and research facilities. Credentialed technologists and physicians will provide clinical instruction.

Note: This action is a SACS Procedure Two Substantive Change, requiring notification by letter prior to implementation.

 

 
3. Describe need for the program (referencing results of surveys or special studies).

 

To assess the demand for a baccalaureate degree program in NDSS, students enrolled in the five community college programs in NC with a concentration in polysomnography and/or electroneurodiagnostic technology were surveyed. Eighty-two percent of the students surveyed (N = 39 respondents) indicated that they were interested in pursuing a BS degree in neurodiagnostics and sleep science. Students enrolled in the 33 Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited polysomnography and electroneurodiagnostic technology programs in the US were also surveyed and 65% of the respondents (N = 34) were interested in pursuing a BS degree in neurodiagnostics and sleep science. Letters of support from the North Carolina Community College System, Council for Allied Health in North Carolina, UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine Department of Neurology, North Carolina Association of Sleep Technologists, and the American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists all attest to the interest in and need for this program in North Carolina.

 

The number of patients seen for diagnosis and therapy for sleep-related disorders in North Carolina has increased dramatically over the past 20 years, with the most significant increase in the past five years. This increase is demonstrated by the data from the UNC Hospitals Sleep Disorders Center from 1998 to 2008. Specifically, over the past 10 years there has been nearly a 300% increase in the number of sleep studies being performed in North Carolina. Further, the number of patients participating in future sleep studies is projected to continue this upward trend.

In a recent survey of North Carolina sleep disorders laboratories accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 73% of the respondents (N = 16) projected an increase in the number of technologists needed in the near future. 73% also indicated difficulty in recruiting polysomnographic technologists with the necessary skills to fulfill management and leadership roles within their institutions. 

 

The growth of polysomnographic testing in the U. S. from 1998-2008 has also increased significantly according to Medicare data. Specifically, these national data show an increase of nearly 700% which has lead to a national shortage of qualified entry-level sleep technologists; new associate degree programs are helping to address this need. These trends have lead to a great need for advanced level technologists and the proposed NDSS program is designed to meet this need.

 

Educators, students, and employers attest to the increasing need for an advanced degree in NDSS. Recently, program directors of respiratory therapy, polysomnography, and electroneurodiagnostic technology programs were surveyed and over 70% of those (N = 122) agree that:

  • sleep centers have a need for technologists with advanced training or specialization,
  • education requirements for sleep technologists will increase in the next 5-10 years, and
  • the need for educators will increase in the next 5-10 years.

 

 
4. Projected total annual enrollment:
Year 1:20 
Year 2:30 
Year 3:35 
Year 4:40 
Year 5:55 
his intent to plan a new distance education degree program (or program site) has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate campus committees and authorities.
YES 
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
 
Contact Name:Mitchell L. Cordova 
Contact Title:Professor & Department Chair 
Contact Email:mcordova@uncc.edu