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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA College of Nursing’s Online Graduate Program ranked #23 in the world

Courtney Helman
UA College of Nursing located on Mabel Street and Martin Avenue on Saturday, Jan. 24. The onlinr nursing school is leading through innovative learning a U.S News and World Report ranked their online graduate program No. 23 for 2016.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the UA College of Nursing’s online graduate program 23rd in the world.

Currently, the graduate nursing program offers three degree paths: Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership and a Doctor of Philosophy.

Clinical professor and program coordinator for the online Registered Nurse to Master of Science in Nursing program, Cheryl Lacasse, said she is not surprised by the rank because the college has had high-quality programs from the very beginning.

“We have very stellar faculty in lots of different specialties who are extremely high quality and exceptional educators,” Lacasse said. “We also have good administrative support and students who rise to the occasion.”

According to Lacasse, the college prepares students for the many different roles they may encounter both in today’s healthcare system and in that of the future.

Elizabeth Knight, who graduated from both the Degree for Nursing Practice and master’s programs last December, said she was initially apprehensive about all the material taught in an online format. However, the online format ended up being very effective and she said she had a good experience.

Knight is currently working as a nurse practitioner for the UA College of Medicine’s Mobile Health Unit and is also teaching part time for the UA DNP online program.

“I think that the leadership and the faculty really adapted to the online environment and worked to make it effective,” Knight said.

U.S. News & World Report broke its 2016 rankings into five differently weighted categories: 30 percent student engagement, 25 percent faculty credentials and training, 20 percent peer reputation, 15 percent student services and technology, and 10 percent admissions selectivity.

This year the UA rose 13 spots from 36th last year. The UA is the only school in Arizona to be ranked in the top 50.

Lacasse said she has a dual role as an administrator and a senior faculty member in the program. She is responsible for making sure the program runs efficiently and maintains a level of quality and consistency throughout the RN-MSN program.

“Here at the college, we’re always thinking about ways we can improve what we do,” Lacasse said.

Knight said she thinks the college has worked really hard to identify things that might need to be improved upon before they become issues.

“From an educational standpoint, we’re always looking for ways to collaborate within the college and with our colleagues across campus to increase innovative delivery of our educational programs,” Lacasse said.

Knight said the college and its faculty have worked hard to encourage student engagement. They have made in-person experiences more effective at building communities and made online teaching more effective by developing the knowledge and skills that can then be furthered online.

Lacasse also noted that the college’s faculty is very invested in making sure they deliver the most relevant information health care providers require the students to know about.

“We’re in a constant evolutionary process in making sure that we’re updated, and really stretching beyond in what we see in the health care arena to make things better,” Lacasse said.

Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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