SAN MARCOS – Plans by Texas State University-San Marcos to launch a nursing program leading to a bachelor of science degree in nursing at the Round Rock Higher Education Center in fall 2010 took a major step toward becoming a reality after recent groundbreaking ceremonies. University administrators, members of the Texas State University System Board of Regents, members of System administration and state and national elected officials participated in the August event. The three-story building will encompass more than 79,000 square feet when completed.
“Construction is planned to begin in January 2009 with an expected completion date of June 2010,” said Ruth B. Welborn, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions. “If all goes well, the first class of junior classified nursing students will be admitted to start in the new building that August for the fall 2010 semester.”
Approximately 100 students would be admitted for the fall 2010 semester, having already completed freshman and sophomore pre-requisite courses, Welborn said. The students would be classified as junior students taking their nursing courses at Round Rock.
Texas State’s nursing curriculum proposal has been submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board where review is expected to happen at the January 2009 THECB meeting, Welborn explained. Following that, the proposal will then be reviewed by the Texas Board of Nursing, the state approval body for nursing programs.
Texas State has already moved to address the faculty needs of the new program. Marla Erbin-Roesemann, who earned her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Michigan, has been hired as an associate dean of the College of Health Professions and will be named director of the nursing program once approval is given by THECB and BON. Two other faculty members have been hired to assist with the development, Barbara Covington, Ph.D., a retired Army Nurse Corps colonel, brings with her 35 years experience in civilian and military health care systems and higher education, distance education and health care informatics. Lolly Lockhart, Ph.D., brings a special interest in curriculum development for the 21st century for nursing, innovative teaching strategies, and compliance and safety in healthcare in rural as well as metropolitan settings.
With Americans living longer and the bulk of the nursing workforce nearing retirement, the need for nurses is expected to grow by 23 percent with 587,000 new jobs created between 2006 and 2016. The healthcare industry faces a critical shortage of nurses in Central Texas and across the nation, and Texas State’s nursing program will have a significant impact on that nursing shortage beginning in 2012 with the graduation of the program’s first class.
By JAYME BLASCHKE
University News Service