Over the past decade, higher education has exhibited the same conditions that forced other industries to undergo a vast transformation. Just as schools were bracing themselves for the unprecedented decline in the number of high school graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic imposed several financial difficulties. While some institutions were severely impacted by the pandemic and struggled to adapt to the change, institutions such as D’Youville College managed to thrive in the pandemic situation.
As one of the top private institutions in its region, D’Youville acted swiftly to deliver market-ready, innovative solutions to meet the needs of students and the community. By reorganizing resources, investing strategically, and operationalizing its vision to become the ‘University of the Future’, the Buffalo, New York-based College earned a BBB rating during the peak of COVID-19. The college actively repositioned its brand promise to address the concerns of 2021 and beyond with its highly flexible solutions in academics, student support, and student engagement.
Continuous Culture of Service
D’Youville’s roots date back to the 1700s with Saint Marguerite d’Youville. Long known for her resourcefulness and astute business sense, the foundress of the Grey Nuns saved the Montreal General Hospital from financial ruin. The sisters restored and expanded the hospital, as well as built a church and founded a home for abandoned children. In August 1857, they came to Buffalo and started an academy. They received the college charter from the New York state in 1908, and the D’Youville’s college was established as the first school in Western New York to offer baccalaureate degrees to women. “While D’Youville’s primary purpose is to educate students in the humanities, business, and health professions, it places that purpose upon a calling to ‘never refuse to serve’,” says Lorrie Clemo Ph. D. (President of the D’Youville College)
Bouquet of Academic Programs
D’Youville combines a future-oriented, highly innovative approach to education with a fully-realized goal to create shared prosperity in its midst. Understanding the university setting is a place of privilege often relegated to the chosen few, D’Youville’s leadership recognizes the need to think critically about community and the place it holds within it. The college serves roughly 3000 students in 54-degree majors offered through four schools including,
Patricia H. Garman School of Nursing which offers degrees in Nursing (BSN;RN to BSN; Accelerated BSN), Nursing Education with Clinical Focus (MS), Nursing Management and Quality Leadership (MS), Family Nurse Practitioner (MS and DNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MS and DNP).
School of Health Professions houses the departments of Chiropractic, Exercise and Sports Studies, Health Professions Education, Health Administration & Public Health, Nutrition & Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant.
School of Pharmacy, which offers degrees and programs such as Pharmaceutical Science (BSPS), Pre-Pharmacy Early Assurance Program, and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD).
School of Arts, Science, and Education houses the departments of Biology and Mathematics, Business, Chemistry, Educational Leadership, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
Lorrie further adds that D’Youville also provides thirteen additional certificates through doctoral programs that are offered fully online to students throughout the world in majors such as Business Management, Business Administration, Health Professions Education, Health Services Administration, Nursing Education, Family Nurse Practitioner, Long-Term Care Administration, Nursing Management and Leadership, RN to BSN, and Medical Ethics.
“Students at D’Youville work alongside visionary, socially conscious faculty in a supportive environment so they can understand and solve the challenges of their time,” asserts Lorrie. As the college is headquartered within a residential neighbourhood surrounded by parks, students have access to a city with an influx of young professionals, a flourishing startup sector, a strong healthcare economy, and a rich sports and recreation scene.
Moreover, whether they are cheering for one of D’Youville’s more than 15 NCAA DII sports teams, catching a play at the Kavinoky Theatre, studying with friends in one of the newly renovated student spaces, or participating in one of the more than 40 campus clubs, D’Youville students live their college life to the fullest. Lorrie adds that D’Youville’s mascot – the strong, noble, service-oriented St. Bernard who is also playful and lovable –appropriately reflects the camaraderie, cooperation, and mutual respect at D’Youville.
Offering Immersive, Hands-on Experience
D’Youville encourages students to think in reverse. “Rather than simply choosing a major, we ask students what problems they are passionate about solving. We know when they are passionate, they are successful, and our job is to give students the tools they need to be passionate about their work,” says Lorrie. By matching programs to the problem-solving in different areas, students start their careers with purpose.
Lorrie further adds that D’Youville College students participate in thousands of hours of community service annually. The Honours Program, Leadership Scholars, Cultural Enrichment Sector, and Student-Athlete Experiences offered by the college boost the leadership potential of students. 90 percent of the D’Youville students participate in career-related internships before they graduate. Moreover, students have access to research opportunities, national conferences, and the means to put theory into practice. Lorrie believes that these opportunities empower students to become future innovators in their professions.
Focusing on Partnerships
“D’Youville Without Boundaries is our unique focus on the mutually beneficial partnerships forged with community organizations that provide students and employees with opportunities to further develop their knowledge, skills, dispositions, values, and motivations,” says Lorrie. D’Youville boasts 43 formal local partnerships with schools, nonprofits, healthcare providers, and Ftebusinesses; 25 additional regional partners; as well as statewide and international offerings.
In 2020, D’Youville launched the Health Professions HUB—a 59,000 square foot teaching clinic offering patients interdisciplinary care including primary care, nutritional support, operational therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic services, pharmacy, dental care, etc. D’Youville students from every major have exclusive access to intern and learn in the HUB, including an entire simulation floor and one-of-a-kind Centre for Healthcare Equity and Innovation.
Digitization and Accelerated Learning
Lorrie affirms that D’Youville College began building a culture that goes head-to-head with disruption, backed by a fully upgraded IT department before the pandemic hit. “We were the first university in Western New York to digitize classrooms and move students, faculty, and staff to a remote environment,” she adds.
The college launched quick-to-market programs and offered free online summer workshops and special partnerships with schools to keep high school students on time for college enrolment. In the first month of the pandemic, its D’Youville’s Philanthropy and Engagement Department ran its most successful online Giving Day ever. Moreover, more than 5000 people attended the May digital graduation celebration on YouTube.
“The work continues in 2021 with new programs like SaintsCare —free, unlimited, and immediate access for students to mental health counseling visits through TimelyMD,” says Lorrie. She envisions D’Youville to capitalize on the growing digital familiarity among consumers by bringing its most successful programs into greater levels of digitization and accelerated learning.