Wittenberg and Clark State Launch Historic Nursing Program Partnership
Wittenberg University and Clark State Community College have entered into an historic partnership for nursing students. This is the first program of its kind in the state of Ohio, where a private university has partnered with a community college. Students can attend general education classes their first and fourth years at Wittenberg, and nursing classes at Clark State their second and third years.
Previously, adult students who already were registered nurses could complete their Bachelor’s degree, but Wittenberg did not have a registered nursing program. Elizabeth Sorensen, the director of nursing at Wittenberg said, “I’ve heard so many people, especially coaches, say that they have lost prime recruits because Wittenberg didn’t offer nursing.”
While students are in the program, they will be Wittenberg students through their entire four years, but during years two and three, they will attend classes at Clark State. To do this, they will have to register for their nursing classes at Clark State, which will then bill Wittenberg for the tuition costs. Scholarships will not apply while they are at Clark State, but this will actually save the student money in the long run, as Clark State’s tuition is less expensive than Wittenberg’s.
Students in the program will have to sign a waiver through FERPA, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, so that the two institutions can share information about the student’s progress. This will benefit students, as they will be free to participate in any and all extracurricular activities at both institutions.
The program was initially set to launch next year, but there were already students who were prepared to start, so the program launched ahead of schedule.
“We call them Cohort One. We talked to Clark State and they said they could give us as many as 10 spots in the fall of 2015,” Sorensen said. “So we have eight students starting their nursing classes this fall, a year ahead of our projected availability. Clark State’s maximum number is 25 seats that they will provide us each fall. So, Cohort Two are the students who are starting their general education classes this year and will start their nursing classes this summer.”
Dala Dewitt, the RN program director at Clark State, said, “The students started over the summer. They took their nurse aid courses, which have to be completed prior to their first clinical nursing courses. They all did well, and next week, they will go to their first clinical site taking care of patients. In a few more weeks, they will have their first semester completed and will move into the second medical surgical nursing course and mental health. The students are all very excited to be those first eight in the program.”
Wittenberg and Clark State are also working on a Data Analytics Pathway Program that will run in a similar manner and is set to launch next year. Thomas Kaplan, Ph. D. and dean of Wittenberg’s School of Community Education, is leading the effort to launch the program.