School of Nursing programs recommended for re-accreditation


A National League for Nursing visiting team has recommended continuing accreditation of the School of Nursing's undergraduate program for the maximum eight years and initial accreditation of the graduate program for the maximum five years, according to Dr. Theresa Valiga, dean of the school.

The final, official decision on the accreditation status of the programs will be made by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission in December.

"Being accredited sends a message to the community - potential students, parents, nursing peers, employers, etc. - that a program has undergone an intensive peer review and been found to meet the highest standards," said Dr. Valiga. "Accreditation bolsters recruitment and the School of Nursing's reputation."

In their report, the visiting team noted the following strengths in particular:

1) The mission and goals of the University are reflected in many aspects of faculty and student academic life.

2) There is a strong commitment of the faculty to the program, the students, and helping students achieve program outcomes.

3) The plan for systematic evaluation of all program components is well developed and comprehensive.

4) Faculty are very productive in terms of publications, participation in scholarly activities, and service.

5) Students have a variety of clinical experiences that are consistent with the mission of the University.

6) The Health Promotion Center is an integral part of the clinical aspects of the Nursing program, an excellent opportunity for students, and a service to the community.

Over three days last month, the team of program evaluators interviewed School of Nursing administrators, University administrators, including President Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. and the school's faculty, students and alumni. In addition, they observed several classes, toured the facility and library and made off-campus visits to approximately 15 of the school's clinical agencies, including the school's Health Promotion Center where they talked with students, preceptors and agency staff.

"We are proud to note that all three visitors were very impressed with our students and alumni, as well as with the faculty," said Dr. Valiga. "They commented on how articulate, well prepared, and committed to the mission of the University the students were, and they were overwhelmed with our alumni and their comments on how this program 'changed their lives.'"

The school's re-accreditation is the culmination of a two-year self-study that, according to Dr. Valiga, "gave us an opportunity to look critically at what we do, evaluate the outcomes of what we do, and identify our strengths and the areas we want to strengthen."

The School of Nursing offers a four-year undergraduate program that leads to a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a course of studies that leads to a master of science degree and fulfills academic requirements toward certification as a family nurse practitioner or clinical specialist in psychiatric mental health nursing. The school enrolls 228 full-time students in its undergraduate and master's programs.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 1, 1997