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Collin College Named Texas' First Center of Excellence in Nursing Education™

July 28, 2011 – Collin College’s nursing program is proud to announce that the National League of Nursing (NLN) has named it a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education™.

Collin College’s nursing program, which officially will be recognized for this prestigious designation at a national ceremony in September, becomes Texas’ first and only Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. Of the more than 1,800 nursing programs in the country, only 19 have been named a Center of Excellence.

“To be among only 19 nursing programs in the country with this distinctive recognition is truly a phenomenal honor and a direct representation of our remarkable faculty, staff and students,” Brenda Goodell, chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees, said.

The New York City-based NLN invites schools to apply for Center of Excellence status based on their demonstrated sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, student learning and professional development. Programs must also have a proven commitment to continuous quality improvement. Specifically, Collin College earned the designation in the categories of professional development and enhancing student learning.

According to District President Cary Israel, “We are grateful to the National League of Nursing for recognizing our program. More importantly, the Centers of Excellence initiative inspires all of us to strive to the highest level with our academic programs.”

Collin College’s nursing program is well known in the community for service learning and civic engagement. For example, nursing students provide the majority of volunteer staffing at a local clinic for the underinsured and underserved. They also assist at an equine facility that provides therapeutic riding programs to riders with physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities.

Since 2006, more than 650 Collin nursing students served more than 215 community partners in response to community needs, providing more than 4,000 service hours each semester totaling more than 40,000 service hours in five years.

“This designation validates the hard work of the faculty, staff and students. It indicates that we have demonstrated we are providing an excellent environment for our student’s nursing education that enables them to be successful,” Dr. Nell Ard, director of Collin College’s Nursing program, said. “It also indicates that our students and graduates are prepared for their careers in nursing and will be an asset to the profession and to the organizations lucky enough to hire one of them.”

The Collin College nursing program also has a history of high pass rates on the registered nurse licensure exam. In fact, 2011 Collin College nursing graduates scored a 97.3 percent pass rate, far exceeding the state average of 89.3 percent. The program also has been lauded by The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for having one of the top three graduation and licensure rates in the state.

“Words cannot describe how excited I was when we found out we were awarded the Center of Excellence designation and are the first in the state of Texas to be recognized by the National League of Nursing,” Donna Hatch, a Collin College nursing professor, said. “The nursing faculty has always known what an outstanding program we have, and now it is wonderful that the faculty, staff and students are recognized by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence. This designation confirms that we have one of the top nursing programs in the country.”

Collin College’s first-time Center of Excellence designation extends from 2011 through 2015.

Dr. Colleen Smith, senior vice president of academic affairs said, “Once again members of the nursing faculty at Collin College have demonstrated that they are unsurpassed as educators. This accomplishment is meaningful for the entire college, all of our students and the community at large.  We all benefit from the high quality of education being attained at Collin College.”

Collin College serves more than 51,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.