JSU Nursing Department Elevated to School Status


Nursing students participate in a pinning ceremony in 2018. Photo by Digital Media Services.

by Buffy Lockette 

As students of all ages return to school, the JSU Department of Nursing is literally becoming one. The university is elevating the department to school status, effective Fall 2022.  

“We were the only four-year nursing program in Alabama still at the departmental level,” said Dr. Betsy Gulledge, longtime department chair, who has been named Chief Nursing Administrator. “Everyone else has a school or a college.”

Widely recognized as a leader among its peers, it’s only appropriate that JSU’s nursing program would operate at the same level. The name change not only garners respect for the program, but will also allow it to seek more grant opportunities since many agencies only accept proposals from schools or colleges. 

The JSU School of Nursing will continue to be housed in the College of Health Professions and Wellness, for which Gulledge will continue to serve as associate dean. The school includes all nursing programs and initiatives at JSU, including the undergraduate, graduate, traditional and STEP options. It’s one of the largest units on campus, with nearly 1200 students and 33 full-time faculty. 

“This name change validates our students and our faculty, the significance of our program and the importance it brings to JSU,” Gulledge said. “In terms of the faculty, the name change doesn’t affect their day-to-day, but it gives them a real validation when compared with other programs, not just in the state, but nationally.”

JSU Nursing is already on the national radar. Last fall, when US News ranked undergraduate nursing degree programs for the first time, JSU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing was ranked No. 332 in the nation among accredited, four-year degree programs.  For a full list of the program’s accolades, visit the JSU Rankings and Designation’s website.

Construction is scheduled for completion this fall at the school’s future home, JSU South. All faculty offices, classrooms and lab space will be located on the site of the former Jacksonville Hospital, donated to the university by RMC after the March 2018 tornado. The program has been displaced since the natural disaster. 

“It will be wonderful once we get everyone back under one roof and get a little normalcy back,” Gulledge said. “We are having a huge expansion over on the south side of campus and if anyone wants to participate by naming a classroom, securing naming rights or supporting scholarship funds, we are always looking for new partnerships.”