CAA hears of Nursing program, approves 8 items

Emilie Bowman, Staff Reporter

Editors Note: This story has been modified from its original edition. Previously the article misquoted Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Jason Hood. Hood did not say he was excited to “oppose” his colleagues. The News regrets the error. 

The Council of Academic Affairs approved eight executive actions during its meeting Thursday, allowing course description and prerequisite changes in classes like BIO 3888G and TEC 4970.

The council then heard a proposal from Provost Jay Gatrell, who is in the process of creating a nursing program at Eastern. 

Gatrell said he is hoping to attract many new students with the program.

“We’re really hoping to transform the health profession experience here at EIU,” said Gatrell. “Nursing is the highest yielding major inquiry, so we’re really trying to cater to both the region and our potential students’ needs.”

While the program is still in its initial phases, Gatrell said he has already laid out the admission criteria for future students hoping to be enrolled as a full-time nursing student. 

To qualify for the new traditional nursing program, students would have to come in with their major declared as pre-nursing, allowing themselves a year of prerequisite courses here on campus before being able to apply as a full-time nursing student at the end of their freshman year. 

Along with the potential of a new program, Gatrell said he is expecting the need for at least six additional teaching positions to teach the nursing courses laid out in his proposal. 

Despite the additions to the staff, Gatrell said he recognizes that the addition of a nursing school will affect the workload of science lab and/or courses in biology and chemistry.

Gatrell said he suspects that after the program is established, it will generate the revenue needed to support the creation of the new school and staff positions.

The school of nursing would require nearly 20 courses, possibly including chemistry classes aimed directly at nursing students and health specific STEM courses. 

Gatrell emphasized a “content-based curriculum” while also being the only one plus three program in Illinois. 

Due to the proposal process, Gatrell and the council cannot yet determine an opening of the nursing program. 

Gatrell said the entire process can take anywhere from 6-9 months, but he is hoping for a soft launch of the course in the near future.

CAA chair Marita Gronnvoll said she is looking forward to the new nursing program despite its launch being an indeterminate amount of time away. 

“There’s nothing quite like it (the nursing program) around here,” Gronnvoll said. “The prospect of a nursing program has the capacity to bring hundreds of students to the campus.”

The council also discussed populating the Gen Ed committee for the 2019-2020 academic school year.  

Currently two faculty members have been chosen to be interim members of the committee: Richard Jones and Timothy Taylor. 

The council said it is still looking for other interim Gen Ed committee members for the current school year, preferably, but not exclusively, staff members who are currently teaching general education courses.


Emilie Bowman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].