Regents consider bachelor's in public health

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 9:22pm

For the most part, the agenda for Thursday’s University Board of Regents meeting is pretty standard. Pending construction projects will be up for approval, a new round of professors will likely be granted tenure and the Central Student Government president will give his first monthly report of the school year.

For this month’s preview, The Michigan Daily perused Thursday’s agenda and sifted out some of standout items. 

Public Health major

A resolution to create a two-year major program through the School of Public Health, if passed, would allow undergraduate students to declare a public health major as of the fall 2016 semester.

The program will focus on “the importance of critical thinking applied to important health problems of the 21st century,” according to an action request written by Provost Martha Pollack and Martin Philbert, dean of the School of Public Health.

The program will feature three concentration areas: public health sciences, global public health and community public health. These areas will “encourage study abroad.”

Students would apply during their sophomore year and begin public health studies as a junior, similar to application-only undergraduate programs like the Public Policy School. 

Over the last 10-20 years, an increasing number of institutions have started offering undergraduate public health programs. The program calls for students to complete a focus area and complete a capstone project with a field learning experience.

CSG update

In his monthly report to the regents, CSG President Cooper Charlton, an LSA senior, announced that CSG has worked with Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones and Holly Rider-Milkovich, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, “to develop a curriculum for student-athletes to learn about sexual assault prevention and raise awareness about this issue.”

Funding campus construction

Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, has submitted an action request for the University to issue general revenue bonds. If approved, proceeds are estimated not to exceed $110 million.

Bonds are often issues by companies or institutions needing to raise money. How it works: Investors loan the institution, in this case the University, a specific amount of money in exchange for periodic interest payments. The loan is repaid when the bond reaches maturity.

The funds brought in by these bonds would pay for recently completed and ongoing renovation projects — including the Munger Graduate Residences, Intramural Sports Building and Central Campus utility tunnel reinforcements.

“The University seeks to provide long term financing for the construction cash flow requirements of authorized new projects,” the action request reads.

The plan would also likely involve refinancing “commercial paper,” or money issued by corporations or institutions to help them meet short-term debt obligations — in the University’s case, this refers to money that went toward funding the collective renovation of West Quad and the Michigan Union Cambridge House.

Subsequently, total proceeds from issuing bonds and refinancing “is not expected to exceed $435 million.”

“These bonds, like commercial paper, will be supported by a pledge of the University’s General Revenues,” the action request reads. General Revenues refers to “revenues from students, athletics, housing” and a plethora of other University cash flows.