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New Mexico State University

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Seventy-three DACC nursing students transition to NMSU program

A total of 73 former Dona Ana Community College nursing students are now part of New Mexico State University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. The students transitioned to NMSU following the loss of accreditation for the DACC Nursing Program. While many students have elected to transition into the BSN program at NMSU, still others have chosen to remain at DACC to finish their associate degrees in nursing.

> "These students have been our top priority," said Bernadette Montoya, NMSU's vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. "NMSU President Barbara Couture directed us to do everything possible to ensure these students could continue their education and pursue careers in nursing. Faculty, staff and administrators throughout the NMSU system have worked collaboratively to make that happen."

Both NMSU and DACC have offered scholarships to cover tuition and fees for those students impacted by the recent loss of accreditation. This financial aid is separate from normal scholarship funding. Scholarships for other NMSU and DACC students are not affected by this effort.

"We understand the arrangement to allow DACC nursing students to transfer into NMSU's BSN program may not work for every student, but we will be there for them during this process," said Tilahun Adera, dean of NMSU's College of Health and Social Services. "Extra time is required for the BSN degree - a year and a half to two years. We'll work to make sure students master their courses, especially in preparation for their licensure exam. We are also willing to work with students once they are in the BSN program to deal with any personal issues that may affect their ability to complete their degrees."

NMSU will add faculty resources to ensure the increase in new students will not impact students already in the BSN program, or those who anticipate entering the program next semester. The university anticipates admitting a normal-sized group of 48 students into the BSN program this coming spring.

"DACC is working expeditiously toward accreditation and faculty recruitment is under way," Couture said. "As you know, more competitive salaries for our faculty is one of my key goals. We will work closely with DACC as they work to meet accreditation requirements for faculty recruitment and retention."

Lastly, NMSU is working to ensure the future of the nursing programs at all campuses. NMSU has established a Commission on Nursing Accreditation Oversight, made up of internal and external experts, to review and assist in moving the DACC Nursing Program back to an accredited status in the shortest possible time. This commission will provide both DACC and the NMSU administration a greater level of assurance that efforts, some already under way, prove to be successful. While primarily focused on the situation at DACC, the commission will also be charged to make recommendations that will assist with monitoring such accreditation processes throughout the NMSU system. The ad hoc commission will document lessons learned, recommend best practices and review activities related to DACC's application for accreditation.