Thousands of students have benefited from Suha Saleh, Ph.D. on behalf of the health sciences major at UCF.
Saleh has served as program director for the health sciences major since she joined the UCF faculty in 2010. Currently, she also serves as interim chair of the new Department of Health Sciences, established in July 2018.
She was recently recognized by the UCF Board of Trustees’ Educational Program Committee for her achievements as a member of the new Department of Health Sciences.
“We are very proud of all the hard work that Dr. Saleh has put into elevating the health sciences major here in the college,” said Jeffrey Stout, interim dean for the College of Health Professions and Sciences. “Her contributions have impacted the next generation of health care professionals.”
Under her leadership, she has transformed the curriculum and recruited the department’s faculty and staff. Health sciences is now one of UCF’s largest undergraduate majors by enrollment, with more than 4,000 students. It is also among the largest and most evolved health sciences undergraduate programs in the country.
When Saleh assumed the role of program director, the health sciences major consisted of a degree plan with a group of courses taught by other academic programs on campus. She was the only full-time faculty member in the program.
Saleh transformed the major into a focused, purposeful sequence of courses and educational experiences that prepare students for advanced studies in non-clinical and clinical fields. This included her creation of core courses in pathophysiology offered through multiple teaching modalities to meet the needs of diverse learners at UCF.
Saleh also worked with students to launch the Health Awareness and Prevention Society, or H.A.P.S., which quickly became one of the fastest growing student organizations at UCF.
The redesigned major has been very popular. Since its implementation, the program has seen a 342 percent increase in student enrollment, 310 percent increase in degrees awarded and 418 percent increase in student credit hours. There are approximately 3,800 students in the major this spring.
Recently, Saleh implemented a reconfiguration of the major into two tracks, a Health Promotion Track and a Pre-Clinical Track, and students select a track based on their career goals. She also has integrated new forms of learning into the curriculum, including the Health Sciences Internship, which offers clinical shadowing, research and community outreach opportunities.
Not surprisingly, Saleh increased the size of the health sciences faculty. She has hired faculty members who can mentor undergraduate research and expand experiential learning opportunities for students. The health sciences faculty now includes Assistant Professor Michael Rovito, who leads Undergraduate Student Research Symposia each fall and spring, and Associate Lecturer Danielle Webster, who leads an annual health sciences student research and outreach program in Jamaica, and several other accomplished faculty members.
Saleh also expanded the health sciences staff, which includes academic advisor Jennifer Farran, who received a 2017 Outstanding New Advisor Award from the National Academic Advising Association.
“I feel humbled and honored to be part of UCF’s mission in advancing undergraduate education, and that I get the chance to impact student’s learning and success at UCF,” Saleh said.