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History

History of the Lurleen B. Wallace College of Nursing (CON)

The Lurleen B. Wallace College of Nursing was created by the Legislature of the State of Alabama in 1967, to meet the educational needs of the state. The College of Nursing (CON) delivers three programs - traditional generic BSN, RN to BSN (STEP), and MSN. By December 2011, the CON had awarded 3,279 degrees (2,580 to generic BSN graduates, 576 to STEP BSN graduates, and 123 to MSN graduates). Enrollment has shown striking increases in recent years as illustrated in the following table.

Fall
2004

Fall
2006

Fall
2008

Fall
2010

Spring
2011

BSN:

202

238

240

204

263

STEP:

9

100

187

269

287

MSN:

29

44

61

76

50

UNA MSN Transient:

---

21

29

31

10

Total:

240

403

517

580

610


The MSN program has some unique features in the State of Alabama. In 1998, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) approved JSU's proposal for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with a single major in community health nursing. This was a significant decision in Alabama, as the JSU program was the first to be approved since 1984. Two stipulations were mandated by ACHE and addressed in the JSU proposal: (1) the specific major(s) could not duplicate established MSN programs in the region, and (2) a collaborative partnership with an existing program was required. Since no programs in the northern region of the state offered a clinical specialist program with a major in community health nursing at the time of the proposal, the JSU program was viewed favorably by the ACHE commissioners. In seeking a partner institution, similarities in program mission and philosophy were considered. Initial discussions with the faculty and administration at Troy University (TU) revealed interagency similarities and a collegial compatibility that served as the foundation for a formalized agreement between the two institutions. The JSU CON collaboration with TU has served as a model for the state. In 2006, the CON finalized a collaborative agreement with the University of North Alabama (UNA). Under this agreement, UNA MSN students take up to four classes in the CON's MSN curriculum. This highly successful arrangement was approved by ACHE to conserve state resources, but the collaborative relationship between UNA and JSU has been deeply enriching to students and faculty of both institutions.

Only four deans have administered the program since its inception: Dr. Mary M. Williams (1969-1978), Dr. Roberta O. Watts (1978-1995), Dr. Martha G. Lavender (1996-2004) and Dr. Sarah V. Latham (2004-2014) and Dr. Christie Shelton (2013-present).

The CON has made a significant difference in the number and quality of practicing nurses serving the people of this area, this state, and this nation. The College takes pride in the caliber of students entering the program, and the quality and diversity of the educational opportunities available. The CON is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing.

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