Augusta, Ga. – The College of Nursing is forging a new identity as “Georgia’s flagship nursing school” following January’s consolidation, Dr. Lucy N. Marion, Dean of the Georgia Regents University College of Nursing, said in her annual State of the College Address Friday.
“My purpose today is to tell the story of the college,” Marion said. “It’s gone through quite a lot over the last year.”
On Jan. 8, Georgia Regents University emerged as a new university with the consolidation of Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. New admission guidelines, curriculum, and standards were developed with the creation of a new undergraduate nursing program, the only duplicate academic program at both universities.
This semester, 185 students make up the inaugural class of the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. Total Fall 2013 enrollment in the College of Nursing is 796 students. More than half are pursing graduate programs of study.
“About a fourth of our students are in Athens,” Marion said. Another 60 are distance learners taking courses online.
Marion’s address, “Consolidation and Transition Forward,” was live-streamed to campuses in Columbus and Athens.
“We’re a statewide organization,” Marion said.
The College of Nursing has teaching locations in 110 Georgia and 14 South Carolina cities and 370 Georgia and 29 South Carolina agencies and hospitals. Marion highlighted educational partnerships with entities across the state, including Emory Health System, The Medical Center of Central Georgia, and Columbus State, Clayton State, and Valdosta State universities. The college hopes to encourage future growth by building on its reputation as a trail-blazer, Marion said. At current growth rates, enrollment could reach 1,000 students by 2020.
“We’re very much trend-setters,” Marion said. “We were the first to have CNL in the state. We’re attracting new people to nursing.”
Fall 2013 enrollment in the Clinical Nurse Leader program, a second-degree, accelerated nursing program, is 189.
The college has undertaken a major push to increase the diversity of its student body, and has several programs that focus on cross-cultural work, including international partnerships with China’s Jianghan University and a study abroad program in Peru.
“One of our goals is to increase our diversity,” Marion said. “We think it’s very good for the students, and good for us.”
The college is already making strides in gender diversity. This fall, 15 percent of students in the College of Nursing are male.
“At one time, if you had five percent of your student body be men in nursing, you were lucky,” Marion said.
In addition to the diversity initiative, Marion also highlighted other strategic priorities for the future, including faculty and staff development, new educational programs, accreditation, a new clinical program by Georgia Regents Nursing Associates, and hiring an associate dean for research. Learn more about the College of Nursing at www.gru.edu/nursing.