Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
December 2, 2008
DeKalb — Registered nurses in the DuPage County area can complete their bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees at the College of DuPage Glen Ellyn campus, thanks to a new agreement with Northern Illinois University.
Taught by NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies professors, as well as members of the C.O.D. nursing faculty, the program is tailored to meet the employment- and family-related needs of working nurses who want to enhance their knowledge and advance in their profession.
“This agreement is an excellent example of two-year and four-year schools working together to provide an educational program designed to meet the needs of today’s students,” said Joseph Collins, executive dean of Academic Affairs at C.O.D. “Working nurses and C.O.D. nursing students will both have a tremendous opportunity to continue their education, resulting in increased career opportunities for them.”
The program will enroll a cohort of up to 35 students for the fall of 2009. Two courses are provided each semester, held back-to-back one evening each week from 4 to 10 p.m. Graduation is expected in the spring of 2011. A second cohort will begin that fall.
“This is the fifth area community college at which we will offer our RN-BS degree completion program,” said Anne Kaplan, vice president for Administration and University Outreach at NIU. “Given the number of health care facilities in the College of DuPage district, we’re delighted to now be able to begin to respond to this need.”
Qualified current and former College of DuPage students are given enrollment preference for half of the cohort capacity. This preference is suspended two weeks prior to the start of classes.
Nurses admitted to NIU will receive 32 semester hours of credit for their previous nursing coursework. Students can choose to maintain dual admission and obtain the related benefits.
NIU will provide 24 semester hours toward degree completion; students can complete the remaining coursework required for the baccalaureate degree with approved transfer credit from C.O.D. or another Illinois community college. All non-nursing coursework can be completed at any time and is not considered a prerequisite for the upper division nursing courses provided by NIU.
NIU will supply academic advisers and will help students arrange their community health/leadership clinical course assignments within the C.O.D. community. Several scholarships, as well as other financial aid sources, are available through NIU.
“This arrangement will make it possible for nurses in the area to get their degree with minimal interruption with their current work schedule. Due to the shortage in nurses, this will provide a great benefit to the community as well as the students involved,” Collins said. “This agreement is also a great benefit for our students, who will be able to take up to 96 hours at C.O.D. and transfer these on to NIU, thereby saving significantly in tuition.”
Brigid Lusk, chair of the NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies, said the new partnership centralizes something that has been offered at several hospitals.
“Our school has been running several off-campus degree programs, mainly at hospital sites,” Lusk said. “But we have to look very carefully at our resources, and the best way to give the higher education that NIU can offer is going through community colleges. We’re now starting to limit our offerings to community colleges.
“College of DuPage is one of the largest premiere community colleges in a high-density area. We are just delighted to be able to support their program with the optimal availability to our programs,” Lusk added. “The education that comes with a bachelor’s degree is known to support excellence in patient care in varied situations.”
Meanwhile, the partnership could help to ease the critical nursing shortage by preparing nurses to pursue necessary graduate degrees. It also permits NIU to employ and deploy its nursing professors as efficiently as possible.
“We need nursing faculty. That’s a key issue in the nursing shortage,” Lusk said. “You can’t find new nursing faculty if nurses don’t have the appropriate degrees that allow them to earn graduate degrees.”
Nursing programs at the College of DuPage are housed in the Health, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division. For more information, visit: http://www.cod.edu/hsbs or call (630) 942-3924.
The NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies is housed in the College of Health and Human Sciences. For more information, visit http://www.niu.edu/offcampusacademics/nursing or call (815) 753-6556.
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