Franklin Pierce University Launches Hybrid MPAS Program in Texas
May 25, 2023
Applications now being accepted for inaugural hybrid Master of Physician Assistant Studies cohort, representing continued expansion of University’s graduate allied health programs.
On April 28, 2023, Franklin Pierce University’s Texas-based Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program officially began accepting applications through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) system. Under the direction of program director Joseph Hlavin, Ph.D., PA-C, this marks a significant milestone as the hybrid program prepares to welcome its first cohort in March 2024.
“As founding program director, this moment has incredible significance for Franklin Pierce and for me, personally,” shares Hlavin, who joined the University in 2022 to develop and launch the program. “We are setting the bar for allied health education in the region and the state, and I am proud to contribute to FPU’s mission to training the next generation of healthcare providers.”
The MPAS Texas program, located in the Austin suburb of Round Rock, Texas, is home to some of the top health science programs in the state. Offered as a hybrid-model, students will travel to Round Rock for a series of immersion weeks throughout their course of study. Franklin Pierce recently signed a lease for the academic center’s space and is currently in the design and construction phase, customizing the center to fit the needs of faculty, staff, and students.
“Expansion in our graduate allied health program represent a vital component of our strategic plan, Pierce@60, as we continue to focus on innovation in teaching and learning,” notes President Kim Mooney ’83. “The programs we offer, and the modality in which we offer them, must resonate with the demands of those that choose to enroll, no matter where they live.”
Along with taking applications for its first cohort, the program submitted its application for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) last month. A virtual site visit by ARC-PA will take place in June, with anticipated provisional approval this September. Franklin Pierce will also submit a substantive change proposal to the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Joining Franklin Pierce’s other successful MPAS programs, the Texas program is modeled after FPU’s Goodyear, Arizona hybrid MPAS program. Launched in November 2022, after a requisite two-year, intensive planning and development process, the initial cohort of 44 students held its White Coat Ceremony in March, marking the students’ halfway point in their studies.
Since April 2018, University administration and allied health sciences faculty have been exploring strategies to not only enhance enrollment, but also meet the needs of the significant population growth anticipated in Phoenix’s West Valley, New England, and beyond. The University also currently operates a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in Goodyear, Ariz. and DPT and nursing programs in Manchester, N.H. Its Lebanon, N.H. Academic Center is home to the MPAS program ranked #2 in the nation by the Rural Health Research Center. The addition of the hybrid MPAS program in Texas responds to the increased demand for highly-skilled health professional graduates.
Priscilla Marsicovetere, JD, PA-C, dean of the College of Health and Natural Sciences, believes that Franklin Pierce’s hybrid delivery models allow the University to be on the cutting-edge of higher educations’ trajectory, especially in the health professions. “This paves the way for more innovation in the way we teach and train the next generation of healthcare workers,” shares Marsicovetere. “It broadens the University’s reach as we extend access to an increasingly instrumental cog in the American healthcare system’s wheel.”
As program director, Hlavin brings a wealth of experience to the role, including more than 30 years as a clinician. First serving as a Navy Corpsman, he attended Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio, earning an Associates of Applied Science, Surgeon Assistant in 1991. From there, he earned his Bachelor’s in Advanced Technology Education at Bowling Green State University in 2008, a Master of Science in Educational Human Resource Development in 2012, and in 2017, a Ph.D. in Human Resource Development/Leadership Studies, both from Texas A&M University. Hlavin also helped launch physician assistant training programs at Texas A&M University College of Medicine and West Coast University.