Frequently Asked Questions about the possible merger of Seattle Midwifery School (SMS) and Bastyr University (BU) Bastyr University is excited to have the opportunity to merge with the Seattle Midwifery School. By joining resources, we hope to bring together two organizations that share complementary missions. Both institutions were formed in 1978 and each has a reputation for excellence in education. There are many details to work out, but, at this time, there are no foreseen major obstacles standing in the way of a merger. 1. Why is Bastyr University interested in a merger with the Seattle Midwifery School? The mission statement of Bastyr University calls upon us to educate future leaders in the natural health arts and sciences. The University is interested in expanding access to midwifery education because currently the only point of entry to midwifery education at the University is through the naturopathic medicine program. The joining of the two institutions has long been considered but the time has not been right until now. One of the main reasons SMS wishes to join BU is to be able to offer a regionally accredited degree and to enable students to be eligible for increased federal financial aid. Bastyr University is pleased to have the opportunity to expand our midwifery education options and looks forward to joining together with SMS. For more information about SMS, see http://www.seattlemidwifery.org/ . 2. Will SMS fully integrate into the University or will it be “under our umbrella” in terms of regional accreditation? If this merger is approved by the Bastyr University Board of Trustees and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), SMS will fully integrate into the University. We will develop a Department of Midwifery in the new School of Natural Health Arts and Sciences (combining the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science and the School of Natural Health Sciences, subject to Board approval in April 2009). 3. Is there programmatic accreditation for midwifery? Yes. Both the current Bastyr University program and the Seattle Midwifery School program are currently accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) http://www.meacschools.org/ . 4. What degree will be offered by the Department of Midwifery? We hope to be able to offer a master’s degree in Midwifery. We believe this is the level of training that is currently offered in the SMS program as well as our Naturopathic Midwifery program and is the appropriate level of training for the field. We intend that the master’s degree program will have a research component and the skills and abilities of midwifery training will be taught at a master’s level. 5. Will Naturopathic Medicine students be eligible to take this program? Yes. We see this model as allowing two points of entry converging on one midwifery education program. Students are expected to be able to enter from the Naturopathic Medicine program, or directly into the midwifery education program. We expect that the educational program will be robust and will give naturopathic medicine students who choose this dual-track option the ability to sit for licensure in Midwifery as well as Naturopathic Medicine, leading to the ND/LM designation similar to our dual-track program in Naturopathic Medicine/Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine leading to the ND/LAc designation. 6. Will current BU and SMS students be able to transition into the new program? Yes. We will work out the details of the potential transition over the next year. 7. What is the Simkin School that is associated with SMS and will they be joining BU as well? The Simkin School for Allied Birth Vocations at SMS is a collection of certificate training programs in birth doula training, postpartum doula training, childbirth educator training, and professional education in breastfeeding and lactation. We hope that they will join BU as the Simkin Center for the Allied Birth Vocations, located in the School of Natural Health Arts and Sciences. For more information about the Simkin School at SMS, see http://www.seattlemidwifery.org/simkin-school/simkin-school.html. 8. Where are we now in the process? We are now in an approximately six-month long process of due diligence so that each institution can determine the pros and cons of moving forward to a formal merger. 9. What does due diligence mean? Due diligence is a business term that describes the process of evaluating a merger or an acquisition. It is a time for the organizations to take a close look at each other and ensure that the joining of the two organizations is a reasonable business decision. 10. When might this merger be finalized and take effect? The actual date of finalization will depend on the pace and ultimately the success of the due diligence process. We hope that it will be completed mid-2009. If you have additional questions, please contact Tim Callahan, PhD, Senior Vice President and Provost at Bastyr University, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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