UT Arlington College of Nursing honored for increasing bachelor’s degrees

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has honored the UT Arlington College of Nursing and Dallas-based Academic Partnerships with a 2012 Star Award for success in the University’s online RN-to-BSN program, which has allowed thousands of registered nurses to complete bachelor’s degrees conveniently and efficiently.

UT Arlington is one of only four colleges and universities in the state to receive the Texas Higher Education Star Award for partnerships this year. The awards program is part of the statewide board’s Closing the Gaps by 2015 initiative. Winners were announced in Austin last week as part of the 2012 Reinventing Instruction and Learning Conference and the Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference.

Since it began in 2008, the online RN-to-BSN has helped increase enrollment in the UT Arlington College of Nursing from 1,912 students in fall 2008 to a preliminary enrollment of 6,385 students this fall.

To date, 2,355 registered nurses have earned a Bachelor of Science degree through the program and completed their coursework in an average of 18 months. Almost half of Texas nurses who completed an RN-to-BSN degree during academic year 2010-2011 did it through UT Arlington.

Michael Moore, UT Arlington senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, said the success of the RN-to-BSN program has stemmed from a university-wide effort, from staff providing technical support to retooling financial aid and admissions procedures.

“This award is an important recognition of the collaborative work by multiple offices across the University to challenge traditional ways of offering programs and to develop new, innovative, and responsive programs that serve a high demand area of instruction that is of particular importance to the state,” Moore said. “I am very appreciative to all our staff who devoted countless hours to making this program a success for our students.”

The Coordinating Board adopted the Closing the Gaps by 2015 plan in 2000. It sets goals for increasing student participation and success in higher education and furthering research. The Star Award recognizes programs that embody those goals.

Public-private partnerships also are key to UT Arlington’s thriving RN-to-BSN program. The University collaborated with Academic Partnerships to develop an online-delivery system for the College of Nursing curriculum and to promote the program. The College of Nursing also partners with more than 245 Texas hospitals whose employees have taken part in the University’s RN-to-BSN program.

“This award in the category of partnerships attests to UT Arlington and Academic Partnerships working successfully together since 2008 to increase student enrollment in the RN-to-BSN program while maintaining high quality. The 5,000 nurses currently enrolled in the program point to its affordability and accessibility as key factors for going back to receive their BSN degrees,” said Elizabeth Poster, dean of the UT Arlington College of Nursing.

Tuition for the online RN-to-BSN program is $8,995, compared to as much as $20,000 at some for-profit institutions. Enrollment also is flexible, with all pre-requisites and nursing courses offered in five to eight-week sessions instead of traditional 15-week semesters.

"The collaboration between UT Arlington and Academic Partnerships is a good example of what a public-private partnership can do to expand access and enhance the educational attainment of the healthcare workforce," said Randy Best, founder of Academic Partnerships. "We are proud that after only four years of working together to put UT Arlington's innovative and high quality nursing programs online, their College of Nursing has become one of the fastest growing and largest in the United States." 

The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing has become one of the largest and most successful nursing programs in the nation. In addition to its RN-to-BSN program, the University offers an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for first time nurses that can be completed in as little as 15 months and a master’s program in an online format. Visit www.uta.edu/nursing/ to learn more.

Media contact: Traci Peterson, tpeterso@uta.edu, 817-272-9208

The University of Texas at Arlington, www.uta.edu

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