EIU President David Glassman and Olney Central College President Rodney Ranes (seated) formally signed the agreement this week allowing associate degree-seeking nursing students at IECC to simultaneously begin work on their baccalaureate degree through EIU. Standing, from left to right, are Doug Klarup, interim dean, EIU College of Sciences; Renee Kidd-Marshall, director, EIU RN to BS in Nursing Program; Blair Lord, EIU provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Terry Bruce, CEO, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges.
Representatives of Eastern Illinois University and two regional community college districts formally signed agreements this week that will allow associate degree-seeking nursing students to simultaneously begin their baccalaureate education.
An innovative dual-track transfer program will allow ADN students from Danville Area Community College and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges to be admitted to Eastern’s RN to B.S. in Nursing Program after completing their first year at their respective community college. (Illinois Eastern Community Colleges is a multi-college district headquartered in Olney, and includes Frontier Community College, Fairfield; Olney Central College, Olney; Lincoln Trail College, Robinson; and Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel.)
Once these students successfully complete their ADN program, have their RN license and proof of liability insurance, they are granted full admission to EIU.
EIU President David Glassman expressed his pleasure with the signed agreements, saying they provide for a “seamless transition to BSN education.”
In October 2010, the National Institute of Medicine released the report, “The Future of Nursing,” which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent by 2020. The committee charged with preparing the recommendations stated that to respond “to the demands of an evolving health care system and meet the changing needs of patients, nurses must achieve higher levels of education.”
In time, Glassman said, the EIU RN to BSN Program will simplify this process for hundreds of nursing students by allowing them to earn their baccalaureate degree at an accelerated rate. In addition, since the EIU coursework is offered completely online, participating students can study from their community of residence and/or employment as their schedules allow.
In fact, students need not ever take a step on the EIU campus until it comes time to walk through commencement, he added.
“OCC and IECC are excited to enter into this dual-track agreement with EIU and the Bachelor’s in Nursing Program,” said Rodney Ranes, president of Olney Central College. “It will provide an opportunity for nursing students in our program to further their education and better serve the residents of our community college district.
“Additionally, online options provide students with the chance to work in the field and further their education while cutting down on the time to complete the degree,” he added.
DACC President Alice Marie Jacobs concurred. “We are pleased to partner with Eastern Illinois University in offering this innovative dual track nursing degree as it may accelerate the time required for our students to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing. This unique opportunity is the latest in our long-standing partnership with Eastern.”