Cleveland State Community College received word that it was granted continuing accreditation for its associate nursing degree program. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing visited the college during the fall of 2018. The ACEN board met in March of this year and affirmed continuing accreditation, finding the program in compliance with all accreditation standards and criteria reviewed during the onsite visit, which included both a review of all six standards and a focused review of a revised curriculum.
The board scheduled the next onsite accreditation review for Fall 2026.
Nancy Thomas, director of the CSCC nursing program, stated, “Accreditation is above and beyond the standards set forth by the state; it is the next level up. We were hopeful after the positive results of the onsite review team and the next team of reviewers, but nothing is final until the board of commissioners makes the final decision. We were so thrilled to receive the letter from Dr. Stoll, the executive director of ACEN that we were full accredited for eight more years.”
According to the ACEN, deliberations centered on the materials available to the board from the accreditation review process and the recommendation for accreditation proposed by the peer evaluators on the site visit team and the Evaluation Review Panel. The board identified an area of strength on Standard 2.1, which speaks to the qualifications and experience of full-time faculty. It was noted that 60 percent of exclusive full-time faculty at CSCC have or are pursuing doctoral degrees.
“This accrediting body holds programs to the highest standards of excellence, and we are very proud to have met and exceeded those requirements,” stated Dr. Denise King, vice president for Academic Affairs. “ACEN’s affirmation of the excellence of our program demonstrates the strength and integrity of the Cleveland State Nursing faculty and staff and the accomplishments of our students.”
Ms. Thomas stated, “Another strength was that we did not have any areas needing development on the curriculum. This is important because not only was this visit a reaccreditation visit, it was also a focused visit for the substantive change for the new curriculum.”
The new curriculum is the one adopted by all associate degree nursing programs in the College System of Tennessee. The curriculum begins with a Fundamentals of Nursing course and proceeds with three Medical Surgical Nursing courses. These courses progress from chronic conditions to acute conditions, and finally complex medical surgical topics. The curriculum also includes specialty courses like women’s health, pediatrics and mental health.
“We are excited about the new curriculum,” stated Ms. Thomas. “We feel like it’s strong. Even though it is incredibly rigorous, we believe students will be more successful, and we will see more making it to completion and passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam).”
The pass rate for 2018 was 92 percent, and the first class to graduate under the common curriculum will graduate in August of 2019. Currently, CSCC has a 100 percent job placement rate for the CSCC Nursing graduates.
In addition to the reaccreditation news, the Nursing department is also excited about the new Health and Sciences Building coming to CSCC. Construction will begin in the fall of 2019 with a projected opening of Spring 2021. This is the first new building at Cleveland State in over 40 years.
Ms. Thomas said, “We want to grow our program, and with the new building it gives us opportunity for new growth.”
The CSCC nursing faculty worked directly with the architects to ensure the new Health and Science building will include additional skills lab space, as well as a simulated hospital setting with two intensive care unit (ICU) rooms that will give students a "more real world experience."
“We want this to be a growth producing environment where students can thrive and meet their goals of becoming a nurse,” officials said.
For more information on the CSCC Nursing program or the reaccreditation, contact Nancy Thomas at 423-478-6228 or visit the website at clevelandstatecc.edu.