New York, NY – July 13, 2016 – Four students in the first cohort of a new nursing education doctoral program at Teachers College, Columbia University will receive prestigious two-year scholarships funded by a $40,000 grant from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, and a $40,000 match by the College.
The Teachers College Jonas Scholars will join more than 1,000 future nurse educators and leaders at 140 universities across all 50 states.
Teachers College is launching its new doctoral program—which will be offered completely online in order to reach as many qualified candidates as possible—this coming fall. The new program reflects a growing recognition that the preparation of nurse educators requires a special expertise in pedagogy as well as in nursing – an expertise less commonly found in schools predominantly focused on preparing nurses themselves.
“We are very pleased and honored that the Jonas Center has chosen to fund our students,” said Kathleen O’Connell, TC’s Isabel Maitland Stewart Professor of Nursing Education. “Nursing education faculty have particularly demanding jobs that require excellent teaching skills.”
“This prestigious grant from the Jonas Center confirms the growing importance of nursing education in a time of great change in the field, and the role schools of education, and in particular, Teachers College, the birthplace of nursing education, can play,” added Thomas James, TC Provost & Dean.
The Jonas Center, the leading philanthropic supporter of graduate nursing education, is engaged in a nationwide effort to increase the number of doctorally prepared faculty available to teach the next generation of nurses. Without an influx of qualified nursing faculty, the prognosis for American health care is grim.
In 2014 alone, U.S. nursing schools had to turn away about 70,000 qualified applicants largely because they lacked teaching faculty. Yet the demand for clinical nurses will continue to increase with the aging of the American Baby Boom generation.
“The Jonas Center realized early on that the clinical nursing shortage, a persistent problem that will grow along with our aging population, is rooted in the larger issue of the dearth of faculty prepared to teach the next generation,” said Darlene Curley, MS, RN, CEO of the Jonas Family Fund and Executive Director of the Jonas Center. “Teachers College brings to bear a legacy that makes it uniquely suited to train nurse educators, and the Jonas Center is enthusiastic to partner with such a storied organization that shares our mission.”
Teachers College launched the nation’s first university-based nursing education program in 1899, created by Mary Adelaide Nutting, then a supervisor of nurses training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, along with her colleague Isabel Robb. The program has produced thousands of nurse educators, including many prominent figures in the history of the field.
The new program is the first fully online doctoral degree for TC. The online format is designed to accommodate students who are doing clinical shift work, which makes the traditional in-person class schedule nearly impossible. Online education also allows for greater geographic reach, a critical step to overcoming the nurse faculty shortage. However, students may choose to take in-person courses at TC to fulfill elective and statistics requirements and will have the opportunity for face time with their classmates and with faculty.
The new Ed.D. program accepts students with a master’s degree in nursing who want to become college or university faculty. Nationwide more than 1,200 faculty positions remain vacant with most positions requiring or preferring a candidate with a doctoral degree. The number is expected to increase as current faculty members retire.
Founded in 1887, Teachers College, Columbia University, is the first and largest graduate school of education in the United States and is perennially ranked among the nation’s best. Through its three main areas of expertise—education, health and psychology—the College is committed to disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, the preparation of dedicated public service professionals, engagement with local, national and global communities, and informing public policy to create a smarter, healthier, and more equitable and peaceful world. TC today has more than 5,000 students, more than 20 percent of whom come from outside the U.S., representing 77 different countries.
The Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, established in 2006 by Barbara and Donald Jonas as part of the Jonas Family Fund, is dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. Its two main programs are the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program, which aims to address the dire shortage of nursing faculty by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role, and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, which seeks to improve the health of veterans by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans’ healthcare. In 2016, the Jonas Center is preparing 1,000 nurse faculty and clinical leaders nationwide.