The program will lead to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The target date for beginning the program is the 2014 fall semester.
"We have many steps to take and much work to do before this becomes a reality,” Dr. Conn said. “This degree will of course require approval from various professional boards and agencies, but we are confident that we can bring the same level of excellence to a nursing program that has become the hallmark of our other degree programs."
The university’s chief academic officer Dr. Carolyn Dirksen will direct the nursing startup. She will chair a task force, which has been authorized to take the steps necessary to accomplish this new goal.
The decision follows a positive recommendation from a feasibility committee also led by Dr. Dirksen, which has worked with a nursing education consultant and met with leaders in nursing education in this region. The LU board of directors recently heard a presentation from Dr. Conn and authorized him to move forward.
Conn said he and Cleveland State Community College President Dr. Carl Hite have had informal discussions over the years concerning articulation agreements that would allow the junior college students to transfer effortlessly and seamlessly to the university.
Hite, who is in Phoenix for a conference, said this morning the demand seems to be for four-year degrees in nursing.
“This is an opportune time for Lee to get into this business,” he said.
As a first step in the process, Dirksen has opened a national search for a director of nursing, who will be hired within the next few months to direct the steps of the approval process, as well as begin recruiting potential nursing faculty.
The university posted an ad Thursday seeking an experienced nursing leader to serve as the inaugural director to shape Christian nursing education through Lee.
Conn said the nursing program would be housed in the Math and Science Building in the first few years. As the program grows, then a new building for the nursing program could be built.
The new announcement is a continuation of the university’s growth. It is in the early stages of constructing a communications building and renovating the former First Baptist sanctuary building and converting it into a music performance hall. The two projects should be completed by the 2014 fall semester.