Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing has formed a partnership with Atlanta’s Spelman College, a top ranked, historically black liberal arts college for women, to offer a dual-degree program that enables Spelman students to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Emory in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman, according to a Sept. 12 University press release.
The five-year program provides students with the opportunity to complete their liberal arts education at Spelman in three years while also fulfilling specific prerequisites for Emory’s Nursing School.
Then, students in the program move onto Emory, where they graduate with a degree in nursing after two years. A precedent and framework for this move already existed. Emory’s School of Nursing has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Agnes Scott College featuring a five-year dual-degree program similar to the one that has been established with Spelman.
According to Linda McCauley, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the success of that preexisting program meant that, when the time came for the Nursing School’s administration to find new ways to recruit prospective students, the collaboration with Spelman was an obvious choice.
“We felt it would be great for Emory if we could if we could do a similar partnership with a school like Spelman that has such a stellar reputation,” McCauley said. “The alternative is that students would graduate from Spelman and then come over to Emory for a second degree, and that’s what they’ve been doing for years. This shortens the program, and neither Spelman nor Emory is cheap, so if you can shorten that educational pathway, I see a clear advantage.”
The planning and negotiation process with Spelman lasted a year, said Lynell Cadray, associate dean of the Nursing School and chief diversity officer.
“It takes a while because you have to make sure that the students have the curriculum at their institutions that will prepare them for the rigors of the Emory Nursing program,” Cadray explained. “Once you do that, Emory benefits because it’s pretty much a guarantee that they’ll have the education to come in and handle our program. It helps for things like retention, and it definitely benefits the student as well.”
Cadray said that the partnership was the most recent example of many initiatives by the Nursing School to increase the number of nurses in the workforce, and she added that this relationship between Spelman and Emory represented the Nursing School’s first partnership with a historically black college.
“There’s a national call for institutions to educate minority nurses, and with Spelman being here in Atlanta, right in our backyard, and also hav[ing] a very strong science program, it makes good educational sense, and it’s a win-win,” Cadray said.
Given the precise nature of the program, McCauley noted that it’s important for students to know when they arrive at Spelman if they would like to pursue the dual-degree track.
“This is not something they can decide to do their junior year,” McCauley said. “But if they believe they’re interested in health and health care professions, then this is a particularly attractive option.”
–By Luke White, Contributing Writer