Dynamic Chiropractic – November 5, 2001, Vol. 19, Issue 23

It's Official - Palmer's Florida Campus Approved for October 2002 Opening

By Guy Riekeman, DC, President, Life University
In light of the recent events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, it seems petty to revisit the differences of opinion in the debate over chiropractic education in Florida. What is important now is focusing on the future.
Palmer has been given two green lights recently to proceed with our plans to open a college in Port Orange, Florida. I appreciate the opportunity to update Dynamic Chiropractic readers on recent progress and our future plans.

Now that the Palmer Board of Trustees has given final approval to our college in Port Orange, and the Florida State Commission for Independent Education has granted Level- 1 provisional licensure, our curriculum, facilities and recruitment plans have been accelerated. We will soon be enrolling students in the inaugural class of Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, which is expected to begin on Oct. 7, 2002.

Level-1 provisional licensure, the second step in the Florida licensure progression, means that we may begin advertising, recruiting, enrolling students, collecting tuition and fees and holding classes at our Port Orange campus. We've been required not to publicize the details of our plans up to this point because the licensure process prohibits making certain information public until provisional licensure has been achieved. We'll make periodic progress reports as we continue through this normal process, and you'll soon begin seeing mailings about our new campus and recruitment ads in the chiropractic journals.

What I can tell you today about our program in Port Orange is that the curriculum will intensely educate students in the latest basic science, technique, clinical and business management principles, and of course the core principles of chiropractic - the philosophy that makes this profession unique in the healing arts. Our program in Florida will focus on providing the best education available in all of these areas. We will hire the finest faculty and staff, and will focus on delivering comprehensive chiropractic education that prepares students for success in all areas of their lives. This will be a Fountainhead education.

We will implement in Florida all of the innovative curriculum changes we've developed and are beginning to put in place at our Davenport and San Jose, California campuses. These changes include developing a system where students can begin their clinical experience from day one, incorporating business management and practice ethics courses early on in the course of study, and developing a chiropractic philosophy curriculum that does not simply teach students to memorize time-honored philosophical tenets, but additionally focuses on discussion of chiropractic's place in the health care arena. It prepares students through small group discussion and the writing of position papers to take on the vital role our profession must play in the world's future health care system.

To be granted a DC degree, Palmer Florida students will also be required to complete a bachelor's degree by the time of graduation, something Palmer and other chiropractic colleges have been moving toward. We'll provide information to individual students who wish to transfer from other chiropractic colleges. We will also offer a variety of scholarships, including those for international students, minority students and those with high academic achievements.

In the last few years, Palmer Chiropractic has taken a lead in the profession because of its aggressive pursuit of resources to increase scientific research. Designated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the headquarters of a group of chiropractic colleges and state universities involved in research, the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research is the principal institution through which federal money is funneled for chiropractic research. Palmer Chiropractic University System recently was awarded a facilities construction grant for $1.3 million from the National Center for Research Resources, a division of the NIH, toward the $3.9 million project.

Thus, the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research in Davenport and our research program at Palmer West are part of the largest research facility in chiropractic education, and our Florida campus will play a role in this vital research network. Researchers in Florida will collaborate with other chiropractic colleges as well as health care facilities in the Southeast on a variety of projects.

Our goal is to have the college accredited as early as one year of opening its doors through the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Palmer will explore extending North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation to the campus in Florida at some point in the future. Prerequisites for enrollment will be the same as at our other campuses - a minimum of 90 undergraduate semester hours with a concentration in science, social sciences and humanities classes, and a minimum grade point average of 2.5.

While building a chiropractically-designed permanent campus from the ground up on 25 acres in Port Orange - which is projected to be available for use by the summer of 2003 - we plan to house the new college in facilities on or near the land designated by the city of Port Orange for the permanent campus. The program will be set up on a quarter system, but students will only be admitted three times per year - in October, January and July. The first two terms will be held in the existing facility, but plans are to have the July 2003 admitting class be the first to begin classes in the new facility. The July 2003 class will also be the first class that will include transfer students.

Our college in Port Orange, which will be a public-private partnership between Palmer and the city of Port Orange, is the best opportunity for providing high-quality chiropractic education in Florida. Your support, whether through referring students, applying for positions or supporting this endeavor politically and financially, is appreciated.

While we are projecting to begin classes in October 2002 with 25 or more students, these students will be the pioneers of chiropractic education in Florida and a part of this exciting new venture from the very beginning. We expect enrollment to grow exponentially over the first five to 10 years. This new campus is the fulfillment of a dream for many - for us at Palmer, for the city of Port Orange, and for countless future chiropractors who will choose to begin their careers at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida.

Guy Riekeman,DC
President, Palmer colleges
Davenport, Iowa

Dr. Guy F. Riekeman, president of Life University in Marietta, Ga., has held leadership positions in chiropractic education essentially since his graduation from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1972. He was appointed vice president of Sherman College in 1975 and has served as president of all three Palmer campuses and as chancellor of the Palmer Chiropractic University System. In 2006, he was elected to the board of directors of the Council on Chiropractic Education.


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