MELISSA CHICKER— News Writer
A new Doctor’s of Education degree (Ed. D) in nursing education may soon be offered at Southern as part of a new venture with Western Connecticut State University. The doctoral degree will provide training to master level nurses in the specific area of teaching nursing to undergraduate and graduate level students.
“It’s important because nursing, like many health professions, will experience a significant number of faculty retirement over the next several years,” said Gregory Peveza, Dean of the School of Health and Human Services. “The program is specifically targeted at the issue of what is the best way to educate and train nurses.”
The degree is designed to help address the state and nationwide shortage of nurses and nursing facility and in order to accommodate the larger amount of students earning nursing degrees.
The proposed Ed. D program recently gained the support of the state Advisory Committee on Accreditation, one of the last remaining hurdles before the program is adopted. The CSUS Board of Trustees gave their consent on the program last fall, leaving the newly created Board of Regents for Higher Education, which replaces the former Board of Governors for Higher Education, will be the final hurdle to whether the program will be approved.
The program, if approved, will utilize facility from both universities as one program. Students will have the opportunity to choose which university they would rather earn their degree in.
“We see the addition of this program benefiting one of our largest programs, the traditional undergraduate program. We are able to grow our own faculty,” said Lisa Rebeschi, nursing department chair.
Classes will total 51 credits in a three-year period and will be taught mostly part-time online to accommodate professionals already working in the field who need the flexibility.
“The reason it is online is to address the population and draw them back in the pursuit of a doctorate. You need to do this in a way that makes sense for practicing professionals,” said Peveza.
Classes will target five specific areas: foundations of teaching and higher education, specialization in nursing education, leadership in nursing education, researching methods, a comprehensive examination, and dissertation, a cultivation of all written work done by a student in a certain area of study.
The Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss and potentially vote this month. If it is approved, classes will be slated to start in the fall of 2012 semester. A total of 25 students divided between the two schools would be accepted into the program in the first year.
“Each year tens of thousands of qualified students are turned away from nursing schools and the number one reason is because of the lack of faculty and we are doing something to address the problem,” said Rebeschi. “It is a exciting time for our department and the faculty who have been waiting for this for the last three years.”
So far students from both in and out of state have been showing a growing amount of interest in the program. The Southern and Western collaboration is one in a few other universities around the country that offer a doctorate in nursing. The nursing degrees most commonly offered are the Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), which focuses on research and the D.N.P. (Doctor of Nursing Practice), which focuses on clinical skills.