Board of Trustees to vote on 3 program proposals

Analicia Haynes, Senior Reporter

Eastern’s Board of Trustees will look at three new programs and take a vote to potentially approve them during a meeting Friday.

The programs are the master of science in exercise physiology, master of science in sport administration and the bachelor of science in nursing.

Currently, Eastern offers an RN to BSN nursing program, which means that students who are already registered nurses can earn their bachelor’s degrees at Eastern.

Since Eastern offers this degree completion program in nursing, the addition of the traditional BSN program is intended to complement this existing program, according to the Board reports.

It is also going to “enhance the new College of Health and Human Services,” according to the reports.

According to a Sept. 5 article in The Daily Eastern News, the new program will give students the ability to declare their major as pre-nursing. Then they will have to take a year of prerequisite and general education courses on campus before being able to apply as a full-time nursing student at the end of their freshman year.

The proposed degree program will require students to earn at least 124 semester hours and is expected to launch with existing pre-nursing students in Fall 2020 if it receives approval by the Illinois Board of Nursing, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.

If the Board of Nursing approves the program in Spring 2020, then the first formal full recruitment cycle will be in Fall 2021.

According to Eastern’s Admissions Office, the No. 1 prospective student inquiry is for a nursing program, and the “lack of a nursing program is the number one reason for admitted students attending another university,” based on the college choice survey of all admitted students in Summer 2019.

In 2019, there were 1,540 total inquiries for a pre-nursing program or the RN to BSN program, according to the Admissions Office.

The proposed program is a response to both workforce needs as well as student demand, according to the Board reports.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment projections for 2016-2026, Registered Nursing is among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2026. The RN workforce is expected to grow from 2.9 million in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026.

“The new programs utilize existing core courses, as well as the former degree’s concentrations in ‘exercise science’ and ‘sports administration,’” according to the Board reports.

No additional courses have been created and no additional costs are incurred, and the objective of the two independent degree programs is to “enhance visibility, marketing and enrollment,” according to the reports.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].