- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Wesleyan University is working to help current nursing students avoid being affected by the school’s decision to transition from one accredited nursing group to another.

In mid-March, Wesleyan withdrew from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing days before the commission was scheduled to vote on the renewal of the Salina school’s accreditation. Wesleyan is in the process of being accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which can take two years.

Wesleyan has asked the ACEN to consider this year’s senior nursing students as graduating from an accredited program, which can be important for employment or getting into graduate schools.

ACEN CEO Marsal Stoll declined to comment on the chances of the request being approved, The Salina Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1D9KqSv ).

Wesleyan also is working to try to find graduate schools that will accept this year’s graduates and is working with other college nursing programs to find spots for junior nursing students, Wesleyan President Matthew Thompson said.

He expects about half of the 27 juniors in Wesleyan’s nursing program to transfer, along with some sophomores and freshmen. The nursing program makes up 20 percent of Wesleyan’s student body.

“This is obviously going to hurt enrollment,” Thompson said.

Wesleyan’s nursing program had been accredited through ACEN since 1992. The ACEN made its last reaccreditation visit in 1992 and found a few issues such as a lack of documentation of faculty meetings and integration of technology, Thompson said. ACEN requested a follow-up report in 2014, which coincided with the naming of a new provost and new chairwoman of the nursing department.

The follow-up report was completed by the October deadline, but in January, the ACEN voted not to accept the report. Before that vote, Wesleyan was given two minutes to state its case in person, which Thompson said school officials decided wasn’t long enough to explain enhancements the university had made. In mid-February, the ACEN told Wesleyan it could voluntarily withdraw from accreditation or face a vote that likely would result in its accreditation being revoked.

Wesleyan chose to withdraw from ACEN accreditation.

“We thought it would be better for our students to be able to talk about being from a program that withdrew and was shifting to a new accrediting body,” said Thomas, who is hopeful accreditation from CCNE will be in place by graduation in 2017.

CCNE is regarded as a more appropriate accreditation for bachelor’s and graduate programs; Emporia State is the only four-year nursing program in Kansas that has an ACEN accreditation, the Journal reported.

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com

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