Annual ENHP Day: Celebrating Research, Scholarship, and Partnership
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Annual ENHP Day: Celebrating Research, Scholarship, and Partnership

On May 4, 2012, students, faculty, and partners of the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions came together to showcase their collaborative scholarly achievements. For what will become an annual event, members and friends of the college shared ideas for—and results from—research projects and participated in presentations by noted experts in the health and education sciences.

A Tradition Begins

Promptly at 1pm, Assistant Provost Fred Sweitzer, opened ENHP Day by announcing the latest affiliation agreement between the University of Hartford/ENHP and LIMBS International. Although a family emergency prevented LIMBS CEO Roger Gonzalez from attending, the news of a collaboration around research and development that will benefit amputees in underserved regions of the world and will provide clinical opportunities for our students, was an exciting way to begin the day.

Dean Ralph Mueller and faculty from the Department of Physical Therapy (now Department of Rehabilitation Sciences) welcomed keynote speaker Kevin Carroll to the stage. Carroll, Vice President of Hanger Clinic, informed and entertained students and faculty alike with his knowledge of innovations in prosthetics and orthotics and his often poignant stories about the strides made by those who rely on them. One of those stories was about a dolphin trapped and injured in netting. The dolphin’s tail had to be amputated. After much experimentation, it was successfully fitted with a prosthetic tail by Carroll and colleagues. Carroll later acted in an advisory capacity during the filming of the associated movie “Dolphin Tale."

If ENHP Day would have had a subtitle different from “Research, Scholarship, and Partnership,” it could have been "ENHP Presents." Throughout the afternoon, and into the early evening, there were many poster presentations, informal research roundtable presentations, formal research presentations by physical therapy doctoral students, and, to complete the day, a panel presentation by education experts, which included two members of the College’s Board of Visitors.

Steve Charry presents wheelchair research to Dean Mueller

"It was an extraordinary and successful effort by our college's students, faculty, staff, and partners to showcase collaborative research and other scholarly products. In line with our mission and vision, the ENHP community once again demonstrated its strong commitment to excellence through relevance." - Ralph O. Mueller, Dean

Many projects involved some combination of faculty and students or faculty and community members working together. For example, Claudia Oakes, assistant professor in health sciences, teamed with undergraduate health science majors, Ben Roberts and Danielle Masso, to study the Impact of home modifications provided by Rebuilding Together Hartford. Another project on Developing college readiness in an early college model high school: Lessons from the University High School of Science and Engineering (UHSSE) and the University of Hartford partnership involved Assistant Professor Suzi D’Annolfo, Professor Donn Weinholtz, and Betti Colli, the founding principal of the University High School of Science and Engineering (UHSSE). In all, over 160 people presented on Friday, May 4, 2012 including ENHP’s poet laureate, Kathleen Hayden, whose opening poem closed with “Prepare to enjoy the success of our college; the hard work and efforts, we all do acknowledge.”

Participants visited the information booths of ENHP’s anchor partners Saint Francis Care and Hartford Public Schools, our prosthetics and orthotics clinical partner, Hanger Clinic, and ENHP’s own Institute for Translational Research. Some took a few minutes to view the nursing and education posters on display. Others simply paused for a cup of coffee, a quick snack, and conversation. Then it was off to the research roundtables to confer with faculty and students about their various research projects. The doctoral program in educational leadership was well represented by students presenting on topics as varied as Dawn Bunting’s Community health nursing and Alyce C. Roberts’ Cultural competence: Urban high school English teachers' use of culturally relevant instruction.

The formal group research presentations by physical therapy doctoral students, naturally drew a crowd of junior PT students who would one day be presenting their own work.

The day came to a close with three distinguished panelists discussing the role of K-12 and higher education partnerships in educational innovation, with a particular focus on the recent affiliation between the Hartford Public Schools and the University of Hartford. Donn Weinholtz, professor of educational leadership, moderated the discussion. Since the State of Connecticut is once again involved in major reform efforts attempting to close the achievement gap, the presentation was timely. Two or the three panelists, Christina Kishimoto, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, and Phil Streifer, then superintendent of Bristol Public Schools are members of ENHP’s Board of Visitors. They and Paul Holzer, Director of Achieve Hartford!, described the community of educators in the Greater Hartford area, our collective strengths as collaborators, and how partners from different institutional types will play an essential role in the success of educational reform.

What made this a special day? While the focus was on the scholarship and partnerships of ENHP, the gathering took on a relaxed atmosphere, encouraging participants to share their academic interests and celebrate in each other’s accomplishments.