After years of diligent planning and tireless legislative effort, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 2118 authorizing Collin College to offer three baccalaureate degrees: a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, a bachelor of applied technology degree, and a bachelor of applied science degree.
The college will now begin the process of seeking accreditation for the BSN with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the Texas Board of Nursing, and a national accreditation commission for nursing.
“This is an historic moment for Collin College,” said Dr. Neil Matkin, Collin College district president. “In this exciting time, the opportunity to serve a rapidly expanding Collin County population and touch the lives of thousands of individuals has never been better.”
According to Michael Wiggins, senior vice president and administrator at Children’s Medical Center Plano, while there are a number of excellent nursing programs in the area, the need for nurses exceeds the capacity of current programs.
“A four-year nursing program at Collin College will help alleviate the shortage of nurses in the region,” said Wiggins. “At Children’s Health, we currently provide clinical experience for Collin College nursing students and are continually impressed with the quality of the nurses who graduate from the program. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Collin College.”
Over the last five years, students in Collin College’s associate degree program in nursing have demonstrated first-time pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that are consistently higher than state and national averages. In 2011, Collin’s nursing program was the first program in Texas to be designated by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in nursing education. Exceptional performance extended the designation through 2019. Only about two percent of the U.S. nursing programs earn this prestigious title, and Collin College is the only community college in Texas to receive this designation.
Jerri Garison, east region division executive/president at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Plano, said she is grateful for the nursing education which launched her into her career.
“I’m thrilled to have learned that members of our community will soon have the ability to earn a high-quality, lower-cost BSN degree at Collin College,” said Garison. “Baylor Scott & White Medical Center–Plano has enjoyed a long history with Collin College because the institution has a vision to collaborate with local health care organizations to help ensure the future needs of patients in Collin County are met by preparing future health care workers today.”
“We are ecstatic about this milestone achievement,” said Dr. Bob Collins, founding trustee and chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees. “For the first time, Collin College is authorized to offer baccalaureate degrees. The approval of the BSN degree will allow us to broaden the pipeline of qualified nurses, deepen our partnerships with area hospitals and address the nursing crisis.”
Collin College serves more than 53,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development. In addition, the college operates the Collin Higher Education Center, which serves 3,100 additional students each year in partnership with The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Woman’s University, Texas A&M Commerce, Texas Tech, and the University of North Texas.