Connell School Assistant Professor of the Practice Patricia Underwood (far left) and Instructor Alison Marshall with students. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)
The William F. Connell School of Nursing has been named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. The Connell School was recognized in the area of “Creating Environments that Promote the Pedagogical Expertise of Faculty.”
The NLN is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education, with 45,000 individual and 1,100 institutional members.
The Connell School is one of only 16 nursing education programs nationwide—across the academic spectrum of higher education in nursing and leading teaching hospitals and clinical sites—to be awarded a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education designation by the NLN this year.
“The Connell School is proud to be designated as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing,” said Connell School Dean and Professor Katherine E. Gregory. “This type of recognition is a testament to the experience, expertise, and dedication of our faculty to teach the next generation of nurses at the very highest level.”
First named a COE in 2018, the Connell School had to reapply for a continuing COE designation after the initial four-year COE designation period. Lelia Holden Carroll Professor in Nursing Judith Vessey, who recently retired, organized the school’s application effort with assistance from many faculty volunteers.
In support of its application, the Connell School submitted a report highlighting faculty-led programs, such as its global service trips and the Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing program, which fosters students’ leadership potential, prepares them to provide care in a multicultural society, and nurtures their ability to create positive social change.
The report also noted CSON’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, faculty discussions on a book and podcast, as well as the addition to the school’s senior leadership team of an assistant dean devoted to student services, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“The Connell School is proud to be designated as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing. This type of recognition is a testament to the experience, expertise, and dedication of our faculty to teach the next generation of nurses at the very highest level.”
“Our report really shows the level of commitment of faculty to the many different initiatives the Connell School has. Different faculty are involved in different things that overall promote an excellence in nursing education,” said CSON Associate Professor Jane Flanagan, who contributed to the report.
“The depth of the offerings at the Connell School for both faculty and students is incredible,” she continued. “So much of the work we are doing not only enhances student learning, but enhances faculty formation as well.”
The NLN is focused on education, and COE recognition signals that nursing education is special at the Connell School, according to Flanagan. “We are an R1 university [the highest designation for research universities], but we also have a focus on teaching, student formation, and service that brings together a much larger picture.”
Flanagan added that when she talks with prospective faculty candidates, she often hears that the Connell School’s commitment to student learning, advising, and formation is appealing.
“Yes, our students pass the licensure exam, yes, our students get jobs, but BC nursing education is about so much more. That shines through in this report.”
“NLN Centers of Excellence help raise the bar for all nursing programs by role-modeling visionary leadership and environments of inclusive excellence that nurture the next generation of a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global community,” said NLN President and CEO Beverly Malone.
“It is no secret that it takes a village of scholars and visionary leaders to collaborate to co-create and sustain educational excellence,” said NLN Chair Kathleen Poindexter, interim associate dean of academic affairs at Michigan State University in Lansing. “Those individuals—faculty, deans, and administrators—deserve our deepest gratitude.”
CSON and other Centers of Excellence were formally recognized at the 2022 NLN Education Summit on September 30.
Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications | October 2022