Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024

College of Health and Human Services

Academic Complex, Office 208
Phone: 270-745-2425; Fax: 270-745-7073
Email:  chhs@wku.edu   
Website: http://www.wku.edu/chhs

Dr. Tania Basta, Dean
Email: Tania.Basta@wku.edu

Dr. Danita S. Kelley, Senior Associate Dean
Email: Danita.Kelley@wku.edu


To be an innovative leader in the student-centered, interprofessional preparation of health and human services professionals by providing students with an inclusive, community-engaged, and interdisciplinary academic experience.


We prepare health and human services professionals who will work to improve the quality of life in their communities and beyond.

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) consists of seven academic units that represent an array of disciplines and offers degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degree levels. Academic units include Applied Human Sciences; Communication Sciences and Disorders; Nursing and Allied Health; Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport; Physical Therapy; Public Health; and Social Work. CHHS oversees the South Central Kentucky Area Health Education Center, the Center for Environmental and Workplace Health, the Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging, the LifeSkills Center for Child Welfare Education and Research, and the WKU Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Center. CHHS is also one of the participating institutions for the doctoral program in Rehabilitation Sciences offered through the University of Kentucky.

The focus of the CHHS is to provide the highest possible quality of education to prepare our students to become leaders in careers related to health and human services. First year students have the opportunity to enroll directly in a specific major or pre-major program or to enroll in our “exploratory” program and investigate the many career options available to them in health and human services. Faculty are highly qualified in their respective disciplines and utilize innovative teaching strategies along with state of the art instructional technology, including IVS, web-enhanced, and web-based instruction.

The disciplines in the college have their roots in outreach to the community. Disciplines in CHHS prepare students for their professions by engaging them in activities within the community that apply the theories and concepts discussed in the classroom for a more comprehensive understanding of the issues, while providing a valuable service to the communities in which we reside. To fulfill degree requirements for most programs, students are required to complete clinical experiences, field work, or internships through one of the many affiliation agreements at a myriad of health and human services facilities, agencies, and organizations. 

Due to the nature of these experiences, students are required to meet various departmental or school academic requirements and federal and/or state mandates. Departments and schools may require the successful completion of specific courses or maintaining a certain GPA in order to be placed in clinical or internship experiences. Some students may be required to undergo criminal background checks and drug testing and to provide proof of health insurance, liability insurance, and/or immunization records prior to participating in any required experiences at selected on or off-campus facilities/agencies. Additionally, there may be certifications, training seminars, or other requirements specified by the facility/agency or program that a student must meet in order to be eligible for field or practical experiences at a facility. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all institutional and/or facility requirements are met as a condition of participating in the on or off-campus experiences; students may be responsible in part or in full for any costs incurred to meet such requirements. Students are also responsible for transportation to and from off-campus experiences. In some CHHS programs, the students are responsible for rental fees for clinical instruments and supplies, purchasing uniforms, equipment, and possible course and program fees above the regular tuition. At the completion of the program, students may also be responsible for fees related to national, regional, and/or state licensing exams.

South Central Kentucky Area Health Education Center  (AHEC)

Connecting Students to Careers – Professionals to Communities – Communities to Better Health    

Catherine Malin, Director
Email: Catherine.Malin@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-3325
Website: http://www.wku.edu/scahec

The mission of the Kentucky AHEC is to promote healthy communities through innovative educational partnerships. This is accomplished by providing the following educational support services to health professions students and health care providers; community health education; and programs that encourage health professions as a career choice.

The South Central AHEC is affiliated with the University of Louisville School of Medicine in cooperation with WKU’s College of Health and Human Services. Programming for WKU students includes: 

  • MCAT Prep Advantage - a program for pre-med students that combines online MCAT prep, shadowing, mock interviews, and personal statement review.
  • Mock interviews and personal statement reviews for all health and pre-health profession students.
  • Student Internships – Undergraduate and graduate
  • AHEC Scholars – A two year, advanced-learning program which prepares health profession students to be leaders in their field. Throughout the program, students collaborate across health disciplines and geographic regions as they prepare to practice in the ever evolving healthcare field. This is a national program conducted by all AHECs and funded by the Health Resources Services Administration.
  • Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter Training Program – A 40-hour course offered several times a year that prepares students to provide medical interpreting services.
  • WKU-AHEC Student Rural Health Association (SRHA) – A student organization for students interested in rural health.
  • Greenview Shadowing Program – A semester- long program for students interested in shadowing healthcare professionals at the hospital.
  • State Registered Nurse Aide (SRNA) – This class prepares students to take the written and skills test to become a SRNA which can lead to employment in long term care facilities and acute care hospitals.
  • Opportunities to enhance cultural competency by working with Old Order Mennonite communities and New Americans.

CHHS Center for Environmental and Workplace Health (CEWH)

Dr. Gretchen Macy, Co-Director
Email: Gretchen.Macy@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-5870

Dr. Edrisa Sanyang, Co-Director
Email: Edrisa.Sanyang@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-3500

Website: https://www.wku.edu/cewh/

The mission of CEWH is to address environmental, occupational, and workplace health and safety issues through innovative education, research, partnerships, and service.

Objectives of the Center:

  • Promote research, creativity, and scholarly activity by faculty and students.
  • Prepare students for lifelong learning and success.
  • Enhance the diversity and international profile of faculty, staff, and student populations.
  • Expand WKU’s economic impact on the region through student, faculty, and staff engagement.

The CEWH serves to address environmental, occupational, and workplace safety and health research in the region. CEWH engages faculty, staff, and students through innovative research that enhances education, partnerships, and service offered by CHHS. CEWH brings together disciplines throughout CHHS and WKU to improve the health of the community and workers by understanding the risks and conditions associated with environmental and occupational diseases and injuries, to explore methods for reducing risks and for preventing or minimizing exposure to hazardous conditions in the environment and workplace, and to translate significant scientific findings into prevention practices, products, and innovations that will effectively reduce environmental and work-related hazards, illnesses, and injuries. 

CHHS Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging (CASHA)

Dr. Jason Crandall, Co-Director
Email: Jason.Crandall@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-2077
Website:  https://www.wku.edu/casha/

Dr. Matthew Shake, Co-Director
Email: Matthew.Shake@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-3918
Website:  https://www.wku.edu/casha/

CASHA was created in CHHS to engage in rigorous research to promote health, vitality, and human potential in the aging community through innovative education, research, partnerships, and service. CASHA will collaborate with community organizations and university partners to identify and address needs in the aging community. Findings will inform research, policy, practice, and program development. CASHA will integrate disciplinary perspectives in physical activity, health, human development, and cognitive psychology to optimize human potential. In addition, CASHA seeks to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of emerging scholars and practitioners by providing experiential and developmental learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

LifeSkills Center for Child Welfare Education and Research (LCCWEAR)

Dr. Austin Griffiths, Director
Email: Austin.Griffiths@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-2676

The LifeSkills Center for Child Welfare Education and Research was established in CHHS as an applied research center designed to utilize multidisciplinary partnerships and collaborations to positively impact Kentucky’s children and families through research, grants, and education.  The Center will build on partnerships with statewide constituents to provide best practices in child welfare education.  LCCWEAR will engage in child welfare research and grant activities that promote and support effective practice interventions with Kentucky’s children and families. 

WKU Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training Center    

Gerita Cook, Coordinator
Email: Gerita.Cook@wku.edu
Phone: 270-745-3762
Website: https://www.wku.edu/scahec/cpr.php

The WKU CPR Training Center is dedicated to upholding the standards of the American Heart Association in accountability for instructors as well as excellent classroom training for the campus and the community. Classes are available for all faculty, staff, and students; as well as the general community. Available classes include: Healthcare Provider; Heartsaver CPR (adult, pediatric, infant), first aid, and bloodborne pathogens; and instructor courses for all disciplines.

Departments, Schools, and Programs