Bachelor’s Degrees at Union County College
New Jersey’s first community college just took a big step toward becoming NJ State’s first community college to offer bachelor’s degrees.
On Oct. 20, Union County College sent a program announcement to the State’s 53 college and university presidents as notification of Union County College’s intent to provide a baccalaureate of science degree in nursing for students who have completed an associate degree or diploma in the nursing program and have passed the examination to be registered nurses.
Union County College President Margaret McMenamin considers this new program to be in line with the College’s mission of “accessibility, affordability, and excellence.” She says, “This RN to BSN Completion Program will provide greater opportunity for registered nurses within the community to pursue advanced nursing education at a lower cost.”
Union’s Chief Academic Officer Maris Lown says that Union County College is well-positioned to provide bachelor’s degrees for nurses. “Union has a 40-year history of educating nursing students at the practical nursing and associate-degree levels,” she says. “Moreover, we have substantive resources and a doctorally prepared faculty in nursing.”
To be eligible for the RN-to-BSN Completion Program at Union, students would need to hold an associate degree in nursing, an associate degree in science, or a diploma in nursing. They would also need to hold a current license as a registered nurse.
The College is confident that the 120-credit program will pass muster with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Dr. Lown says, “The curriculum is organized around the concepts of quality patient care, population-based health, leadership skills within a variety of organizational structures, clinical decision making, and evidence-based practices, concepts that will prepare the graduates to offer expert nursing care for the community, the State, and the nation.”
Union proposes to admit a first class of 20 to 30 students for the start of the spring 2017 semester. Enrollment would expand to 100 students after four years.
The College has requested that the presidents forward their comments about the program within 30 days. “Because the program announcement acknowledges that this is a petition to exceed the College’s programmatic mission, the reviewers are asked to comment on excessive cost or program redundancy,” says Dr. Lown. “Given that these are the only criteria that are germane to determining Union’s eligibility to provide this program, we can demonstrate unequivocally that the program is appropriate to our mission, is affordable for students, and addresses a critical community need for nurses with bachelor’s degrees.”
After vetting the program with the presidents, Union will forward the proposal to the NJ Presidents’ Council and the NJ Commission on Higher Education. The entire approval process is typically completed within six to 12 months.
For more information about Union County College’s RN to BSN Completion Program, contact Dr. Stephen Nacco at (908)709-7005 or (908) 514-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org