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Plans to launch new online nursing program switch into high gear

Feb1Colorado Mesa University is ramping up its efforts to meet the growing student demand for quality online degree offerings.

A reconfigured Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program featuring an accelerated course format will be launched later this year. The new program is being developed by a combined effort of CMU and Academic Partnerships, a Dallas-based innovator in the online education marketplace.

Earlier this month, faculty from the Department of Health Sciences — led by director Debra Baily and associate professor Adrienne Bethancourt — and staff across the institution formally kicked-off efforts to retool the planning efforts for this online degree program.

The online program in nursing lends itself to health care professionals who are fully engaged in their careers. It is an attractive option to those who are unable to take traditional, campus-based courses due to other obligations.

“The beauty of this program is that students are able to do [each course] over seven weeks, when most programs are offered in 16-week semesters. This is extremely helpful to nurses who are job-locked because they are able to balance their families and careers in these shorter, more manageable class formats,” said Bailey.

“We’re excited to complement our presence, and extend the university’s ability to serve students through CMU Online,” said Gillian McKnight-Tutein, EdD, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Distance Education.

“Locally, regionally and nationwide there is a glaring need to prepare more nurses to enter and advance in the health care industry,” said McKnight-Tutein.

The new program will “have the same rigor in coursework as the traditional classroom setting.” CMU’s nursing program has distinguished itself as the best in Colorado, according to McKnight-Tutein. The courses will be taught by faculty who are experts in their field and have experience teaching in the online environment.

In the words of Rick Taggart, CMU Executive Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment, “[Academic Partnerships] brings ‘people power’ to this partnership.”

Academic Partnerships will provide CMU marketing, recruitment and enrollment support, as well as online course design consultation and retention coaches to help online RN-to-BSN students succeed, Taggart said.

“The new program builds upon CMU’s established reputation as a leader in nursing education,” said marketing director Mike Mansheim. “It’s a real testament to the quality of instruction our faculty provide, which will now be delivered in a new format.”

While the RN to BSN program is presently the only program in the partnership, launching it requires a campus-wide effort.

“We’re excited to gain valuable support from Academic Partnerships to market and deliver the programs, and hugely grateful to colleagues from IT, distance education, admissions, financial aid, the Registrar’s Office, the business office and beyond who are working to help make this a success,” Mansheim said.

CMU Online’s expansion is the next step as the university continues to grow. “It is crucial to recognize that the needs of students are always changing, expanding and evolving,” said Taggart. “As an institution, we also must evolve and be responsive to the changing landscape to remain relevant to both students and employers.” •

By Linde Marshall

Media Contact

Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations

dnunn@coloradomesa.edu

970.248.1868 (o)

970.640.0421 (c)