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George Mason University
    George Mason University
2016-2017 University Catalog 
2016-2017 University Catalog

College of Health and Human Services

Phone: 703-993-1901
College Code:  HH

Academic Departments

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) comprises the School of Nursing, the Department of Global and Community Health (GCH), the Department of Health Administration and Policy (HAP), the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies (NUTR), the Department of Rehabilitation Science (RHBS), and the Department of Social Work (SOCW). The college prepares students to provide professional leadership, care, and services related to health promotion, wellness, disease prevention, and quality of life through the advancement of physical, social, and environmental health practices.

Since 1974, with the approval of its first baccalaureate nursing program, CHHS has evolved and expanded in response to the ever-changing fields of health care and social work. The college is multidisciplinary and offers degree programs and research opportunities in health administration, health policy, health information systems, health services research, nursing, public health, nutrition, global health, rehabilitation science, gerontology, and social work.

CHHS offers regular information sessions to prospective students. For dates and times, or to register for a session, visit the information sessions website or call the CHHS Office of Student Affairs at 703-993-1901.


Thomas Prohaska, Dean
Christine Coussens, Associate Dean, Community Engagement
Keith Howell, Associate Dean, Research and Program Evaluation
Frank J. Whittington, Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
Susan J. Swett, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs
Catherine Tompkins, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Lisa R. Joyner, Director, Budget and Administration
Carol Urban, Director, School of Nursing
Constance Gewa, Interim Chair, Nutrition and Food Studies
Andrew Guccione, Chair, Rehabilitation Science
P. J. Maddox, Chair, Health Administration and Policy
Robert Weiler, Chair, Global and Community Health
Michael Wolf-Branigin, Chair, Social Work


Professors: Alemi, Gaffney, Gerber, Guccione, Howell, Jacobsen, Maddox, Metcalf, Milligan, Nichols, Pawloski, Prohaska, Ritchie, Rome, Rose, Weiler, Whittington, Wolf-Branigin

Associate professors: Baghi, Cleaveland, Coussens, Cresci, Cuellar, Davidson, Davis, Douglas, Eckenwiler, Frankenfeld, Gewa, Giang, Gimm, Goldberg, Harris-Love, Hatcher, Ihara, Keyser, Kitsantas, Lindley, Mallinson, Matto, Oh, Peppard, Perlin, Rodan, Tompkins, Urban, Weinstein, Wojtusiak, Yang

Assistant professors: Blair, Brewster, Brown, Cantiello, de Jonge, Dugger, Fleming, Gallo, Garrison, Gupta, Harman, Herrick, Iannitto, Inoue, Karczmarczyk, Kelly, Kieu, Kirsch, Kodadek, Krall, Lee, Madison, Middle, Miklancie, Min, Oetjen, Paeglow, Painter, Pollack, Poms, Rossheim, Scafide, Schafer, Slavin, Smoczynski, Stoehr, C. Sutter, R. Sutter, Terry, Toulouse, Tsai, Wagner, Willis, Winter, Wutzke

Instructors: Almond, Burke, Cuffee, Guillory, Henderson, Prudden, Shiver, Westberg

Assistant research professor: Chin, Collins, Dickman

Research instructors: Debold, Kicinger

Faculty emeriti: Ailinger, Boland, Boyd, Brenkus, Carty, Chong, Jenkins, Langley, Moore, Moss, Normile, Parker-Smith, Raskin, Redmond, Silva, Sluzki, Sorrell, Travis, Vail, Walker, Wu


CHHS offers all courses designated GCH, HAP, HHS, NURS, NUTR, RHBS, and SOCW in the Courses  section of this catalog.

Academic Programs

CHHS is committed to educating the next generation of health professionals, researchers, and educators. Our School of Nursing produces more new RNs each year than any other program in Virginia, and these graduates have one of the state’s highest pass rates on the nursing licensure exam. Through the PhD program in nursing, the college is helping to fill the need for nursing faculty and researchers, and through the DNP program, provides an opportunity for nurses to become experts as nurse practitioners, nurse administrators, or nurse educators. The Department of Health Administration and Policy prepares students for careers as leaders of health care organizations and as health policymakers at the state and national levels, while the Department of Global and Community Health trains public health practitioners with a global reach, who can intervene and improve the health of local and international populations. The Department of Rehabilitation Science provides interdisciplinary programs to educate students to address the needs of the disabled. Graduates of the PhD program in rehabilitation science are prepared for careers in academic, governmental, and industrial research environments. The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies integrates education, research, and outreach in preparing students to improve the health and well-being of populations through food and nutrition. The Department of Social Work educates undergraduate and graduate students to be professional social workers practicing in either community organizations or clinical settings. The CHHS academic units offer a variety of specializations within degree programs, including gerontology, epidemiology and biostatistics, health informatics, clinical social work, and conflict analysis and resolution.

Professional Conduct Policy

All CHHS students are expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times. This means that certain behavior is prohibited, including verbal abuse, insubordination, and behavior that threatens the safety of a client, another student, a faculty member, or other health care provider when the behavior occurs within the context of an academic program. CHHS reserves the right to place on probation, suspend, or terminate any student in its programs who engages in such conduct. Students disciplined for such reasons have the right to appeal to their department chair or director.

Student Affairs

The Office of Student Affairs supports students, faculty, and staff members on a variety of admissions, academic, and policy issues. Student Affairs is involved in recruiting new students; pre-admissions advising; processing applications for graduate programs and undergraduate nursing programs; and conducting orientations for newly admitted students.

Student Affairs maintains the college’s student records; reviews and recommends action on student requests for exceptions to academic policy; processes standard academic actions; and approves student records for degree completion prior to graduation. Student grade appeals fall under university policy as described in the Academic Policies  section of the catalog.

Each CHHS student is assigned an academic advisor, with whom he or she should meet at least once per semester in order to ensure that program requirements are met. The assigned advisor may be a faculty member, a departmental program coordinator, or an advisor in the Office of Student Affairs. 

Student Responsibility

All students are required to have an active Mason e-mail account and to update any change of address on-line through Patriot Web. The college will not communicate with students via a personal e-mail address, so it is important that students check their Mason e-mail regularly. Students are responsible for knowing the university academic policies and the policies governing their program as stated in the university catalog. They are also responsible to know the semester academic calendar including withdrawal deadlines; to review their Mason transcript on-line to ensure transfer of credit accuracy; and to monitor their degree progression through the degree evaluation tool on Patriot Web. 

Background Checks

Many clinical agencies and practicum sites mandate that students working there have a criminal background check. All students enrolled in the School of Nursing are required to complete a criminal background check prior to beginning the program. Students enrolled in other CHHS programs may be required to complete background checks before entering a practicum environment. Information obtained from the background check is strictly confidential but may result in a student’s inability to perform clinical or practicum activities and, therefore, will disqualify the student from entering or continuing in the program. School of Nursing students are sent information regarding the criminal background check process, and associated fees, in their admission packets. Other students are informed individually as they are considered for practicum activities requiring background checks. Students are responsible for notifying the assistant dean of student affairs of any arrests, regardless of adjudication, that occur after acceptance and during enrollment in the program. Failure to promptly notify the assistant dean of student affairs may be grounds for termination from the program.

Health Records

To comply with the policies established by the Commonwealth of Virginia, all students must provide current immunization records to the university’s Student Health Services at the time of admission to the college. Immunizations may be obtained through Student Health Services on any of the Mason campuses.  All students in the School of Nursing also must submit immunization records to the School of Nursing at the time of admission.  Additional documentation of good health may be required.

Students should keep copies of their health records should agencies require them for clinical and practicum assignments. All costs associated with immunizations and certifications are the student’s responsibility.

Insurance and Liability

Students are strongly advised to maintain health insurance coverage at all times. All students enrolled in the School of Nursing are required to maintain health insurance at all times. A student health insurance plan is available to eligible students through Mason. Students are responsible for their own health care, including emergency care, and CHHS assumes no financial responsibility for the health care of students. Enrolled students who are performing internships and similar experiential learning as a required part of their academic programs are considered agents of the university. They are covered for professional liability by the Commonwealth of Virginia Risk Management Plan while engaged in their prescribed educational duties.

Academic Outreach

The mission of the Office of Academic Outreach is to provide off-campus graduate coursework that supports the continued professional development and competency of practicing health professionals. This purpose is accomplished through collaborative relationships with expert health and instructional resources—individual and organizational—both internal and external to the University.

Academic Policies

Students should become familiar with the university’s general academic policies in addition to those specific to each academic unit.  Please see the Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

Graduate Admission

Admission decisions are made by the faculty committee on admissions of the respective graduate programs. Denial of admission is not subject to appeal. Applicants denied admission to a program are not permitted to enroll in courses in that program through Non-Degree Studies.

If an applicant is offered graduate admission, the college reserves the right to withdraw that offer of admission or to terminate a student in a graduate program if:

  • During his or her academic studies, the admitted applicant has a significant drop in academic performance or fails to graduate with a degree prior to the first day of classes for the term admitted.
  • There has been a misrepresentation in the application process.
  • Prior to the first day of classes for the term admitted, the college learns that the admitted applicant has engaged in behavior that indicates a serious lack of judgment or integrity, irrespective of the outcome of any disciplinary process related to such behavior.

The university further reserves the right to require the applicant to provide additional information (and/or authorization for the release of information) about any such matter.

Non-Degree Enrollment

Non-degree status enables students who have no immediate degree objective or may need to satisfy prerequisites for admission to a degree program to enroll in courses for which they are qualified without seeking formal admission to a degree program. Applicants should be aware of the fact that non-degree admission does not guarantee enrollment in any specific course or future degree program. Enrollment in specific courses is based on eligibility criteria and availability of space in courses. In some areas of study, enrollment may be restricted or prohibited.

Non-degree applications and their established deadlines are available online through the Office of Admission. Detailed information regarding non-degree admission policies and procedures can be found in the Admissions  section of this catalog.

The Department of Global and Community Health, the Department of Health Administration and Policy, and the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies welcome Non-Degree students in their classes on a space available basis. Programs in the College of Health and Human Services which have course restrictions are listed below.

Graduate Non-Degree Restrictions

All Graduate Programs

Students may take a maximum of 9 credit hours in non-degree studies. A student cannot graduate or receive a degree while in non-degree studies. Non-degree graduate students may not register for classes numbered 800 or higher.

Social Work, MSW

The MSW program has a once-a-year, fall admissions cycle and each year receives many more applications than spaces available in the class. Thus, graduate MSW Social Work courses are restricted to students who have been admitted to the program and are not open to non-degree students.

Nursing, MSN

A student may be eligible to enroll in approved non-degree MSN courses when space is available if the student:

  • Has not applied for the MSN program and has not been previously denied admission to the MSN program
  • Holds a BSN from an accredited college and achieved a cumulative degree GPA of 3.0
  • Holds a current RN license

MSN non-degree students may not take classes numbered 800 or higher. In addition, they may take a maximum of 9 credit hours in non-degree studies.

Undergraduate Non-Degree Restrictions

Nursing, BSN

Students must be admitted into the BSN program in order to register for undergraduate nursing (NURS) courses.