Baldwin Baker University will offer three new degree options this fall with the addition of a nursing program, which received accreditation earlier this week from the Kansas State Board of Nursing and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Baker has teamed with Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center in Topeka to provide nursing education. Previously, the college offered a pre-nursing program through the College of Arts and Sciences which enabled students to transfer to other schools of nursing. With a hospital affiliation, Baker now can offer its own nursing degree programs.
Keith Keeling, provost and dean at Baker, said nursing education is in the process of changing from diploma-oriented schooling to primarily baccalaureate programs. The new partnership will provide tracks for registered nurses to receive a bachelor's degree in nursing and for licensed practical nurses to receive an associate's degree and then move on to earn a bachelor's. Those students will take all their classes at the Stormont-Vail campus.
In addition, Keeling said Baker will recruit high school graduates to enter the nursing program. They will spend two years taking liberal arts courses at the Baldwin campus and two years in a clinical setting at the hospital.
Keeling expects about 150 students to take part in the program this fall. "There's a strong demand for nursing education, and we don't anticipate having any trouble getting as many students as we need," he said.
Keeling said the faculty for the program is already in place at Stormont-Vail. Elaine Harvey, vice president of nursing education at the hospital, will serve as dean of the Baker University School of Nursing, Topeka campus.
Daniel M. Lambert, Baker president, said the nursing program fits well with the college's long tradition of service to the people of Kansas.
"The development of nursing education is a natural extension of the university's mission," he said. "Since our founding 133 years ago as the first four-year university in Kansas, we have served the changing needs of this region. Stormont-Vail has an excellent reputation in medical care and a long tradition of nursing education. In cooperation, we have the resources and expertise to provide Kansas with much needed, high quality nursing education programs."