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US: Anderson University clears hurdle for nursing school

Anderson University

Anderson University is one step closer to opening its nursing school in the fall. The South Carolina Board of Nursing, during its May meeting in Columbia, gave its unanimous approval for the new School of Nursing at Anderson University. The vote culminates two years of planning and preparation by the university to offer a bachelor’s degree-level nursing program, officials said.

The board previously approved the university’s feasibility study in May 2011. Anderson University hired Pamela Binns-Turner to head up the program as dean of the School of Nursing that same year. Now the school must get the approval of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the regional accrediting body, before it can admit students to the program, officials with the university said.

“We greatly appreciate the unanimous affirmation of our School of Nursing by the Board of Nursing today,” said Anderson University spokesman Barry Ray. “Although the nursing program awaits the final notice of acceptance from SACS-COC, we now have a process in place through which we will receive applications from interested students and make provisional decisions for those who will be accepted into the program. We will use these procedures until final approval for initiation of the new program has been granted by our regional accreditor.”

Already, the School of Nursing faculty is in place and construction on a classroom and laboratory facility is near completion on Anderson’s campus, Ray said. The nursing school will have two programs — one a traditional four-year program and the other an accelerated two-year program.

While other schools in the area also offer nursing programs, they do not think the new program will take away from theirs. Rebecca Eidsen, spokeswoman for Tri County Technical College, said both schools are working together.

“We have been in close communication with Anderson University from the beginning,” Eidsen said. “In fact, Dr. Lynn Lewis, dean of the Health Education Division at Tri-County, is on their advisory committee for this program. We are fully supportive.”

The two schools are talking about the prospect of working together to allow students who have received their associate degree at Tri County to transfer to the nursing school at Anderson for their bachelor’s degree.

“There are conversations taking place on this topic, but no formal pathways have been established yet,” Eidsen said. “There are definitely some possibilities for down the road.”

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