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New York State Board Of Regents Changes Definition Of University; Enables Dominican To Become Rockland County’s First University
Dominican College, founded 70 years ago in Orangeburg, will become Rockland County’s first university. The New York State Board of Regents has granted Dominican College university status and approved the name change to Dominican University New York.
“This is an important milestone in our history as we prepare to celebrate our 70th anniversary,” said Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, the college president. “Changing our name to Dominican University New York brings formal recognition to the caliber of our academic programs. With our new name comes additional prestige and more opportunities for the school and our students.”
Dominican qualified for university status from the New York State Board of Regents because the school offers graduate programs in at least three of the following discipline areas: agriculture, biological sciences, business, education, engineering, fine arts, health professions, humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences.
The college qualified for university status after the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Board of Regents in January 2022 changed the definition of “university.”
In 1969, the Board of Regents adopted the last current definition of “university” in the Commissioner’s Regulations: “University means a higher educational institution offering a range of registered undergraduate and graduate curricula in the liberal arts and sciences, degrees in two or more professional fields, and doctoral programs in at least three academic fields.”
Dominican does offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
But the amendment removed doctoral programs and degrees in two or more professional fields. It adds graduate program discipline areas, with at least three registered.
The new definition is: “University means a higher educational institution offering a range of registered undergraduate and graduate curricula in the liberal arts and sciences, including graduate programs registered in at least three of the following discipline areas: agriculture, biological sciences, business, education, engineering, fine arts, health professions, humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences.”
Over the years, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), as well as colleges and their advocates, have raised concerns over the previous definition. In particular, New York was the only state requiring the creation and operation of doctoral level programs to be a defined as a university. This created a challenge for recruitment, particularly for international students.
Dominican offers a range of undergraduate programs and graduate programs in nursing, business, occupational therapy, education, and organizational leadership and communication. It has a strong academic reputation for liberal arts, business, education, and health-related programs. Recently, Dominican added programs in finance, information technology, health sciences, and marketing. The college also caters to adult learners in the evenings, on weekends, or online.
Dominican’s new status follows on the heels of securing two federal grants, one from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the other from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dominican was one of only ten higher education institutions nationwide, and the only one in New York State, to receive the HHS grant. Funding will be used to launch a Public Health Informatics and Technology (PHIT) program this fall.
The Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, the College began as a two-year college for religious women to become educators. Several buildings were constructed including an athletics facility, residence halls, a dining hall, and an academic building for health and science education. Hennessy Center was recently expanded with a new gymnasium and fitness center. A new turf field is anticipated for 2023. Dominican has a total of 17 NCAA Division II sports teams, as well as a competitive rowing club and a new esports team.
Dominican has been named both a College of Distinction and a Catholic College of Distinction. On the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Colleges List, Dominican ranked #21 out of Regional Universities North for social mobility. It is also designated a Hispanic Serving Institution and was recognized as “Military Friendly”.