At its May meeting, the Xavier University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to establish an independent College of Nursing. It will be Xavier’s fourth college, joining the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Professional Sciences and the Williams College of Business.
Xavier has offered nursing as an academic discipline since 1981 when it acquired Edgecliff College. In 1995, Xavier admitted the first group of students to a newly designed Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. In addition to its traditional undergraduate program, Xavier offers graduate nursing programs and a 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Cincinnati and Columbus. Xavier currently has about 1,100 students in its nursing programs.
The School of Nursing currently has the largest number of student majors among all programs in the College of Professional Sciences. The College of Nursing classrooms and simulation labs will be housed in the Health United Building, which is currently under construction on campus, when the new College opens in the fall of 2019.
“Xavier’s School of Nursing offers robust and highly sought after programming, and we’re at full capacity,” said Melissa Baumann, Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “A College of Nursing will enable us to educate more students in a holistic approach to health care that puts communication, coordination and care of the person, integral to our Jesuit tradition, at the forefront.”
Members of Xavier’s Integrated Student Success Committee and the Board believe “this decision is vital to position the University to better meet multiple opportunities to engage the changing nature of health care through the education of distinctively Jesuit-educated, holistic nurses,” said Xavier President Michael Graham, S.J., in an announcement to the campus community.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow at a faster rate (15 percent) than all other occupations from 2016 through 2026. And the Journal of Nursing Regulation reports that one million registered nurses will retire by 2030 resulting in a significant shortage and loss of nursing knowledge and expertise.
“The nursing shortage is very real, and I am thrilled that Xavier is taking this step to be part of the solution moving forward,” said Debra VanKuiken, director of Xavier’s School of Nursing. “The Xavier College of Nursing will increase our ability to educate more students in the art and science of nursing with a foundation in holistic and Jesuit principles. The work they do and the way they do it, with care and compassion, will make a lasting impact on generations to come.”
An interim dean for the College of Nursing is expected to be hired by July 1, 2019 to lead the planning and accreditation process. The founding dean of the College is expected to be in place by July 2021.