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The Science and Health Initiative at Elmhurst College

In an era of constant challenge

and accelerating change, our society faces an increasing need for scientists and health-care professionals who are technically skilled, deeply informed and inspired to do the most important work of their time. Elmhurst College is ideally positioned to meet this challenge. Our academic programs in the sciences and health care are renowned, innovative and growing. More than one-third of our graduates pursue careers of service in those fields. Moreover, the College is in the midst of the most dynamic period in its history. Over the last decade, we’ve added faculty, expanded enrollment, raised admission standards and enhanced the campus. Our academic reputation has grown dramatically. Today, Elmhurst is attracting students in record numbers who are eager to engage actively in learning, and to prepare for lives of purpose, meaning and achievement. The campus community is committed to advancing its impressive recent progress. The Elmhurst College Strategic Plan 2009-2014 calls for the faculty and administration to build an institution of genuine distinction among the small colleges in the Chicago area and beyond. To meet this goal, the College intends to grow convincingly in quality, impact and prestige—and to achieve a higher level of service to students and society. Predicted shortfalls in the United States over the next decade

40,000 200,000 283,000 1,000,000 PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS




Toward this end, the Strategic Plan calls for the College to build an even more “exceptional physical setting that fosters the holistic development of students.” Specifically, the plan calls for the renovation and expansion of the Arthur J. Schaible Science Center. Opened in 1966, Schaible must be enlarged to accommodate the swelling number of students choosing to major in the sciences and health-related fields. It also must be transformed to support new and emerging styles of teaching and learning, and to provide for an expanding emphasis on studentfaculty collaborative research. The Science and Health Initiative at Elmhurst College is an ambitious effort to raise funds for a revitalized campus science center. It will address critical shortages among scientists and health-care professionals in Illinois and throughout the nation. The Initiative will advance our outstanding programs in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and nursing. It will expand educational and professional opportunities for new generations of exceptional students. In short, the Science and Health Initiative will advance Elmhurst’s varied and indispensable efforts to meet the challenges of our times and the needs of our students and society.


Our campus is a gathering place

for purposeful exploration. It’s a launching point for the dynamic interaction of diverse people. We have a simple but resonant phrase for what happens here: the Elmhurst Experience. The phrase refers to a contemporary framing of liberal learning. Its hallmarks are student selfformation and early professional preparation. The goal is to educate the whole student for life in a global society. This innovative model of higher education does much more than impart information to students. It also stimulates reflection, develops insights, challenges assumptions and sharpens judgments. This model asks students to expand well beyond their comfort zones, through study abroad, service learning and rigorous collaborative research with faculty. It seeks the full realization of human potential. CREATING A VITAL CENTER FOR THE ELMHURST EXPERIENCE

“To realize the Elmhurst Experience,” the Strategic Plan states, “our facilities must match our high educational aspirations.” The Science and Health Initiative will provide the resources for a renewed science center that will stand as an elegant affirmation of the College’s commitment to advancing knowledge and enhancing life. The new Science Center will allow Elmhurst to bring together students and faculty from across the science and health-care disciplines, seamlessly blending classroom instruction and professional preparation. It will encourage collaborative research by including space where students and faculty can share ideas and build community. In a competitive environment for higher education, this Center will enable the College to maintain a cutting-edge curriculum and engage the most inspired students and accomplished faculty. Through their enduring work, it will advance the public good in countless concrete ways. In short, the new Science Center will serve as the vital center of the College’s intellectual life, and as the cornerstone of the future Elmhurst.

“Our students are not cogs

‘BEST IN THE MIDWEST’ That’s how the college guides rank Elmhurst. For example, “America’s Best Colleges,” the annual survey by U.S. News & World Report, places Elmhurst among the top schools in its regional category. The Princeton Review— which bases its rankings in part on frank interviews with actual students—also ranks Elmhurst among the best in the Midwest. Our students had good things to say to the Review about our internship program (“excellent”), location (“optimal”), and campus


(“gorgeous”). But they reserved their most lavish praise for the faculty. “Your teachers know you by name and everyone gets a chance to talk in class and ask questions,” said one student. It’s all part, the Review noted, of Elmhurst’s “intimate academic experience.”

in a wheel. They are unique agents of their own futures, and citizens of a world in which they have a stake and to which they bear a responsibility. Our students explore the world not simply to understand it, but also to know and transform themselves, to grow as selfdirected intellectual and moral beings. The aim of the Elmhurst Experience is to teach students to use knowledge not as an end in itself but as a means toward full and productive engagement with the life around them.

S. ALAN RAY, Ph.D., J.D. President of the College

“Elmhurst is an awesome place to study science. The professors are actively involved in the learning process. You’re not a number to them; you’re an actual person. You build a relationship with your professors and they are genuinely interested in your progress. I’ve been able to get a well-rounded education that I may not have gotten somewhere else. You’re encouraged to take classes outside your discipline, to learn about the world around you. It’s helped me to understand people, communicate and connect with them. I’m sure it will help

me relate to patients.

CHRIS HULSTEIN ‘11 Chemistry major, biology minor, pre-med


We prepare students for leadership roles

in the science and health professions. It’s a proud part of our long tradition of academic innovation and excellence. The programs are among the largest at the College. In the current term, more than 1,400 students are taking courses in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology or nursing. One in three Elmhurst students is majoring in a science or health-related field. Over the past five years, the number of students majoring in these areas has increased by more than 20%. The quality, growth and success of these programs are built around a strong faculty. The science and nursing faculty are teacher-scholars of uncommon imagination and commitment. Diverse specialists, they share a common goal: to prepare students for maximum service in clinical, laboratory and other professional settings—not only through classroom study but also through collaborative research, international study, service learning and hands-on experience in professional settings. Our faculty work strategically to connect students with the people, experiences and resources they need to make their professional dreams a working reality. A UNIQUE GATEWAY TO PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

One reason that our science and health programs are so successful is the active profile of our Center for the Health Professions (CHP). This resource center for students who intend to pursue careers in the health professions cuts across academic lines, bringing together students, faculty and working professionals from a wide array of disciplines: from biochemistry to psychology to nursing to kinesiology to neuroscience to nuclear medicine. It prepares students for their future through purposeful engagement with their world—providing a framework for service learning and international study experiences, and creating a gateway to professional experience in the Chicago area and beyond. In short, the CHP enables Elmhurst graduates to start their careers knowing from experience how to serve as effective members of today’s health-care teams.

The study of science and math is a passion for many Elmhurst students.



STUDENTS ON THE FAST TRACK The Center for the Health Professions maintains affiliations with universities and teaching hospitals that enable students to move quickly down charted career courses. For example, our dual acceptance program with the Midwestern University–Chicago College of Pharmacy allows students to complete their prerequisites in two years at Elmhurst


and then start a four-year doctor of pharmacy program at Midwestern. Pre-veterinary students benefit from a similar program. Students interested in diagnostic medical sonography take their final year of coursework on site at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“I’ve had a number of ‘shadowing’ experiences with working professionals. I’ve shadowed a sports doctor, an osteopath and a gynecologist. The experiences gave me a sense of each of these specialties, of what I might be getting into. It’s always been my dream to become a doctor. What has evolved is what kind of doctor I want to be. My experiences at Elmhurst have focused my interests on practicing medicine in underserved areas all over the world. I’m looking forward to passing on what I’ve learned at Elmhurst College through my work as a

“Small colleges do science

particularly well. Over the past 20 years, most scientists in the United States have come from smaller colleges. That’s partly because students get to know their professors at places like Elmhurst. We do a good job of getting our students engaged in science. They see the value of studying science, and they can see themselves doing it. We train good scientists who go on to become very successful.

Our graduates are out there doing fantastic things. We have physicians and nurses and scientists all over the country using their science background and putting it to good use to help a bigger cause. You need the science to be useful to society, but you need the humanity as well. Elmhurst College does a good job on that combination.


AMY DU ‘11

Biology and political science major, chemistry minor, pre-med


Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for the Health Professions


Our style of learning is highly personal,

hands-on and high tech—all at once. Our students benefit from our distinctive approach across the health-care disciplines. The interaction of students and faculty goes well beyond the classroom and even clinical settings. Across the disciplines, Elmhurst faculty engage avidly in research, and students often form an important part of the research team. Side by side, in the lab and in the field, students and faculty study pollen germination, cancer-cell metastasis, the epidemiology of the West Nile virus, the impact of war on the environment, and countless other topics. They work together to find new solutions to human problems. The Deicke Center for Nursing Education provides a classic example. Students work alongside faculty with advanced degrees and extensive professional experience. As juniors and seniors, nursing majors participate in the real-life work of health care. Two days a week, they are immersed in clinical practice—in medical, surgical, maternity, oncology and mental health units, in public schools and in community health centers. In nursing clinicals, the student-faculty ratio is an exceptionally favorable 8:1. For many nursing students at Elmhurst, the first “patient” they encounter is SimMan, a high-tech approximation of a living, breathing human being. It’s ideal for early practice in the nursing profession. Students can check SimMan’s heart rate, monitor his breathing, determine his oxygen levels, check his pulse rate and monitor a host of other metabolic functions. SimMan’s “clinical outcome” depends on the students’ clinical decisions. SimMan can be adjusted to create SimWoman. Students also work with SimBaby, also known as Baby Boo, a life-size, robotic model of an infant that’s programmed to exhibit a variety of symptoms and conditions. Over the past five years, Elmhurst’s enrollment has grown exponentially, with science and math majors leading the way.

1,131 1,109 1,054 978 939

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005


BEYOND CAMPUS A World of Options Elmhurst students take courses at Argonne National Laboratory, the Morton Arboretum and Brookfield Zoo. They do internships at the Shedd Aquarium, Abbott Laboratories and Fermi National Accelerator Lab, and complete clinicals at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Elmhurst Memorial Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. They lead summer


programs for high school students at Dartmouth College, and examine issues of life and death at the National Center for Ethics in New York City. They study the ecology of the Hawaiian Islands first hand, and visit academic institutes in Paris, Rome, Berlin, Munich and Salzburg.

The Department of Physics offers several options for students wishing to study engineering within a liberal arts context. The department’s parallel dual-degree program is offered in cooperation with the Illinois Institute of Technology. It enables students to earn two bachelor of science degrees—in physics from Elmhurst and in engineering from IIT—usually within five years.

“The science professors at

Elmhurst College are phenomenal. When I was in high school I thought I was terrible at science. I never imagined going into a science-related career. Here at Elmhurst, I discovered my true strengths. I found so much support from the faculty that I earned A’s in all my science classes. An overwhelming majority of the faculty here have the top degree in their field. They also have years and years of field experience. I’m a nursing major. I’m here for the education first. And the fact that these professors can pay attention

“Hundreds of thousands of

people are injured by medical errors, so there’s an urgent need to make sure that the people who provide health care are well prepared. In nursing, part of that means for students to be able to practice in a safe learning environment with simulation equipment. The students make decisions about patient care in real time, but the ‘patient’ is a machine that is programmed to respond to the students’ decisions.

to me has helped me to grow as

a person.


Nursing major


Professor of Nursing and Director of the Deicke Center for Nursing Education


Our new Science Center will reflect

the institution it serves: open, welcoming, contemporary, deeply involved in the life of its society, and ready for the challenges of a young century. Built thoughtfully in phases, the new facility will add classrooms and dramatically increase the space devoted to teaching labs and student-faculty research. It will include a state-of-the-art nursing simulation laboratory, providing students with hands-on experiences that bridge the gap between classroom work and clinical practice. The Center will be fully equipped with advanced technology for both research and teaching. All of the academic space will be designed for active learning, enabling students to move readily back and forth between lecture and lab, even in a single teaching period. “Our goal is to create a first-rate facility that embraces innovation and anticipates new pedagogies,” says President Ray. “We intend to integrate the science and health disciplines in excellent spaces where students can easily put together their academic instruction with their eventual practice of service to patients.”

Our new Science Center will include: Space for facultystudent research Studio labs An innovative nursing simulation lab Genetics and genomics labs Computer labs New classrooms Informal study spaces



Elmhurst’s unique Center for the Health Professions will make its home prominently on the new Center’s first floor. Like the CHP, the building is designed to cut across academic boundaries. It will include labs for microbiology, botany, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, physics and astronomy. When finished, the Center will be a new, concrete expression of Elmhurst’s enduring commitment to its core values of intellectual excellence, strong community, social responsibility and committed stewardship.

“At a big university you’re unlikely to do research with a profes-

sor. You’re lucky to work with a teaching assistant. At Elmhurst, I’m working with Professor Stacey Raimondi on a study of breast-cancer metastasis. If our hypothesis proves correct, our work could have large ramifications. I’m listed as a co-author of a research document. A lot of students at Elmhurst have the potential to do great things. The biggest thing holding us back right now is the fact that our facilities get in the way of a lot of research.


I see the new Science Center as an opportunity for Elmhurst to have a deeper impact on the education of future science teachers. The entire nation is experiencing a shortage of science teachers. Elmhurst can play an important role in encouraging students to pursue careers in the field.

Biology major, chemistry and art minor


Assistant Professor of Education


Students will prepare for lives of service,

exploring ideas, developing skills and working side-by-side with peers and faculty with differing but related academic interests. The new Science Center will provide both the quantity and quality of the space required to realize the ambitious learning goals of Elmhurst’s health and science community. The facility will cut purposefully across academic and professional lines. In today’s world, this interdisciplinary approach is critical to successful learning and practice. “The first thing I tell my students—on the first day of class—is that science is impossible to do alone,” says Dr. Stacy Raimondi, biology professor. “The future of science requires collaboration across the disciplines. The new Center will encourage such intellectual collaboration, which sends a powerful message to students. It tells them that well-rounded scientists can’t fully understand their own disciplines without at least some knowledge of the others.” A BUILDING THAT’S A LESSON IN ITSELF

The architectural plan for the new Science Center advances the College’s commitment to develop the campus as a model of sustainable design. It incorporates an array of environmentally friendly building techniques. The College plans to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the building from the United States Green Building Council, making the Science Center the second LEED-certified building on campus. At heart, the new Science Center will be a concrete expression of the College’s enduring commitment to its core values of intellectual excellence, strong community, social responsibility and committed stewardship.

A LIVING GREEN LABORATORY The lush campus arboretum is just one of Elmhurst’s green initiatives. On the western edge of campus, an acre or so of prairie and woodlands grasses—75 plant species in all—instructively restores the Illinois landscape to its predevelopment condition. A new student residence, West


Hall, is an example of sustainable design, with LEED at the coveted gold level. A campus parking lot is also green, with permeable paving that controls water and runoff at its source.

“In recent years, researchers have done a lot of thinking about

how architecture influences the performance of science. Science no longer consists of little boxes called biology, chemistry and physics. More often than not, solutions to problems come from more than one discipline. To be effective, the settings for scientific education and research need to reflect that reality.


Assistant Professor of Physics

“The way students learn

today is not just by listening to lectures. They’re much more hands on than they used to be. The new science center will include spaces that combine the classroom and the laboratory. We’ll be able to conduct an experiment and discuss the findings all in one space. This is the kind of environment that students need to learn in the 21st century.


Professor of Psychology


The larger society looks to Elmhurst

as a source of competent, committed and compassionate young leaders. Our new Science Center will enable us to fully meet these expectations. “In the Elmhurst model, learning must lead to being an effective agent of change,” says President Ray. “The Elmhurst Experience seeks to develop in each student a firm intention to pursue a life of service and achievement that is both meaningful to the self and beneficial to society.” “By providing a facility to match the College’s educational aspirations, the initiative will help to prepare our graduates for impressive service in the demanding laboratory and clinical settings of the coming decades. In short, it will allow this College to be a more vital source for good, for our students, our society and the world.”

The Science and Health Initiative will allow Elmhurst to contribute more deeply to the achievement of seven key goals of our community and society.


Train a new generation of research scientists.

The National Science Board reports that a “troubling decline” in the number of Americans training to become scientists is creating an “emerging and critical problem” across the fifty states. In the face of this problem, small colleges like Elmhurst are our society’s most efficient producers of new scientists. “Small colleges do a better job of training scientists because their students are more likely to persist in comparison with science majors at large universities,” says Richard Eckman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges. “A giant lecture hall can offer little help to a student who stumbles on one unit in the course.”



Meet the shortage of nurses and other health professionals.

In 2011, the first class of baby boomers will reach 65. Medical advances will allow most of the generation’s 78 million members to enjoy long retirements. At the same time, the presence of an enormous cohort of older Americans will strain an already staggering health care system. A federal government study estimates that by 2020 the nation will face a shortage of one million nurses. Illinois is expected to be short 21,000 nurses. Elmhurst has sought to address this urgent public need in part by intentionally growing its nursing program in size, scope and quality. The number of nursing majors at the College has more than doubled in the last 10 years. In 2005, the department established a first-rate master’s program. In addition, the College’s pre-professional programs are an abundant source of new talent and energy in a wide range of health-care fields, including medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, nutrition and medical dietetics, and speech-language pathology.


Increase the number of women and minorities in the sciences.

Elmhurst serves an increasingly diverse student population. Between 1999 and 2008, the number of new students of color increased by 50%. In 2009, our new Strategic Plan called for the College to continue to intentionally expand the diversity of its incoming classes. The mandate follows the counsel of Elmhurst’s great alumnus, Reinhold Niebuhr, to “purposefully and constructively engage difference.” A few statistics tell the story: In the Deicke Center for Nursing Education, about one in three students is an ethnic minority. Across the science and health-care disciplines, about one in four undergraduates is a first-generation college student. About 60 percent of Elmhurst students are women—a population that historically has been underrepresented in the “STEM” disciplines: the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.


Improve science education in primary and secondary schools.

In 2006, a respected international survey ranked the science literacy of secondary school students in 30 developed nations. The United States ranked 21st. Some of Elmhurst’s earliest graduates were teachers, and the advancement of the teaching profession is a long-standing institutional passion. The Department of Education is the College’s second largest. In the State of Illinois, Elmhurst produces more graduates who teach in primary and secondary schools than any other small college.



Promote humane values in health care and scientific research.

Among Elmhurst’s core values is a commitment to social responsibility. The campus culture stresses the dignity of the person and the interdependence of all humanity. Our programs in the sciences and health professions are comprehensive, interdisciplinary and integrative of all the liberal arts. The College’s medical humanities program provides a case in point. It works to develop in undergraduates the skills and attributes associated with humanistic health care delivery: listening, integrity, compassion, empathy, respect for patients and colleagues, and an unselfish passion for service.



Develop the Elmhurst campus as a model of sustainable design.

The Elmhurst campus itself is a teaching tool. The beautiful grounds are an arboretum, with more than 700 varieties of trees, shrubs and other woody plants. The tradition of the arboretum campus forms the foundation for a broad commitment to protecting natural resources. Our plans for the new Science Center embody the College’s commitment to forwardlooking design principles that minimize the negative impact of development on the environment.


Foster the creation of new knowledge in the service of humanity.

Our faculty are dedicated scholarteachers. They are at work every day: on an analysis of split-brain syndrome… on an investigation of the environmental viability of salmonella cells… on an examination of the impact of gender roles on self-concept… on scores of scholarly inquiries that will inform humanity’s collective understanding of its imperfections and possibilities. In fields as dynamic as science and health care, it’s easy to fall behind and impossible to stand still. The Science and Health Initiative presents an enormous opportunity to build substantially on the College’s present strengths. It will enable our faculty to contribute a higher level of scholarship, to the incalculable benefit of individuals and society.

“The practice of science today is all about crossing boundaries. You

can no longer effectively conduct research in one discipline alone. So when we talk about the new science facility, we’re really talking about something much broader: we’re talking about significant changes in the way we teach science. The new building will promote integration of departments and people, to support the kind


of interdisciplinary learning that has become indispensable to the

study of science.


Professor of Chemistry

“It is in the creation of the next generation of scientists that we will find the solutions to the problems that challenge our community, our society and our world. The new Science Center at Elmhurst represents an enormous opportunity to invest in our future by supporting the education of scientists who can help solve many of our most important and complex problems.


Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty


Elmhurst College is seeking $46 million

to realize the bold dream of the Science and Health Initiative—a vision of enhanced service to students and society. “For 140 years, Elmhurst has offered the personal education that builds students’ confidence and prepares them to take on the world,” says Dennis Patterson ’70, an Elmhurst trustee and co-chair of the Science and Health Initiative Leadership Committee. “A new Science Center will allow us to also offer the state-of-the-art equipment and the seamless, interdisciplinary approach to learning that’s necessary for success in today’s world. I see this initiative as a critical step in the College’s march into the forefront of our nation’s small liberal arts colleges.” As Dr. Patterson suggests, Elmhurst over the last decade has taken its place as a model for the successful small college of the 21st century. But it cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Besides, that would be unlike us: Elmhurst always has strived to achieve new levels of excellence. In the years to come—as our population ages and the world grows more complex— the demand for well-trained scientists and health professionals will expand exponentially. Our society will place a premium on scholars and professionals who think holistically, work collaboratively, and relate their research and care-giving effectively to the pressing needs of the larger world. That’s why Elmhurst is determined to meet the goals of the Science and Health Initiative—to increase the reach and effectiveness of its exceptional programs in the sciences and health care.


Co-chair, Science and Health Initiative Leadership Committee; Elmhurst College Trustee; Founder and Chairman of the Collaborative for Leadership Excellence, a consulting firm that works with hospital CEOs and executive teams.

“Our colleges must inspire scientific engagement among our young people,” says Jean E. Sander ’74, trustee and co-chair of the Leadership Committee. “Our nation will require the talents of a new generation of scientists and health professionals to remain competitive in a global economy. Elmhurst College has a strong foundation in the sciences, with outstanding faculty and an array of professional opportunities. But to truly engage the best and brightest students in the sciences, we need the cutting-edge facilities that foster the sense of discovery.” The success of the Science and Health Initiative will enable Elmhurst College to advance its indispensable mission: to foster learning, broaden knowledge, and inspire students to form themselves intellectually and personally. It will prepare thousands of worthy students for meaningful work in a challenging society and will empower the generations still destined to experience Elmhurst to learn more deeply—and to serve more broadly—than their predecessors could imagine. We invite you to join us in the essential work of the Science and Health Initiative.



Co-chair, Science and Health Initiative Leadership Committee; Elmhurst College Trustee; Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University.

Office of Development and Alumni Relations 190 Prospect Avenue Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-3296 (866) 794-1075

Meeting The Challenge: The Science and Health Initiative at Elmhurst College  

The Science and Health Initiative at Elmhurst College is an ambitious affort to raise funds for a revitalized campus science center. It will...

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