The Department of Nursing at Hope College and the College of Nursing at Michigan State University have entered into a partnership to advance the education of baccalaureate graduates who are interested in pursuing a research career and entering doctoral study.

There is a need to encourage BSN graduates to consider doctoral education earlier than the existing pattern of waiting several years before returning to graduate school.

The specific aim of the partnership is to demonstrate an innovative model whereby faculty from both institutions encourage cohorts of eligible Hope College nursing students and alumni to consider applying to the MSU accelerated BSN to PhD Program. 

Each academic year, MSU will designate two seats in the fast-track program for qualified applicants from Hope.

"The partnership is a unique opportunity for collaboration between a private and public research intensive institution," said MSU Nursing Dean Mary Mundt.  "It will serve as a model for the development of similar future partnerships targeted at meeting the needs of the national nursing faculty shortage."

Nursing faculty from Hope and MSU has developed a pre-graduate school seminar for senior-level undergraduate nursing students and recent nursing graduates from HopeCollege.  The seminar titled, "NURS 495:  Advanced Studies in Nursing," will focus on research, while preparing students for graduate education.  Faculty advising will be available and recruitment open houses will be held to help interested students prepare for the application process and transition to MSU.

Students who are accepted into the BSN to PhD program will take one year of master's level coursework prior to beginning their doctoral studies and continue to receive mentoring from Hope and MSU faculty throughout the program.

The goal is to develop a larger pool of highly qualified nurse researchers and scholars.

Directed by Susan Dunn, PhD, RN, a 2005 PhD alumna of MSU, the Department of Nursing at HopeCollege offers a traditional undergraduate nursing program. 

Hope College is recognized as a national leader in collaborative faculty/student research, and the Hope nursing program is distinctive among nursing schools for its undergraduate research emphasis.

Established in 2000 and now led by Barbara Given, PhD, RN, FAAN, the MSU College of Nursing PhD program is nationally respected for graduating nurse researchers who have the capacity for high-level critical thinking. Graduates of the program have been published in well-respected peer-reviewed scholarly journals, presented at national and international meetings and have been granted esteemed national research awards.

"The future of nursing education will depend on producing more doctorally qualified nursing faculty," said Dr. James Boelkins, provost at Hope.  "Hope's nursing students engage in research as part of their program, and are well prepared to enter a doctoral program.  We value our relationship with MSU, one of the best graduate nursing programs in the country, and see this relationship as a win-win situation for all parties - MSU, Hope students, nursing programs and society."

The mission of the College of Nursing at Michigan State University is to enhance the health of the community by providing excellence in nursing education, research and practice that will advance the profession of nursing and serve as an advocate for optimal health care for all people.  The college currently enrolls more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students. Its 80 faculty members represent a diverse blend of leading scholars and distinguished healthcare professionals who bring real world experience to the classroom.

Hope College is a four-year, co-educational, Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, and during the 2008-09 school year had 3,238 students from 42 states and 30 foreign countries.  Founded in 1866, Hope offers courses in 87 majors leading to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The department of nursing at Hope began in 2002, although nursing education at the college goes back another two decades.  From 1982 through 2003, Hope and Calvin College operated a nursing program jointly before creating their own, independent programs.