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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010 - 11:10pm

TO:

Higher Education Committee

FROM:

Joseph P. Frey

SUBJECT:

Master Plan Amendment: Molloy College, to authorize the College’s first program at the doctoral level

DATE:

December 23, 2009

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 2 and 4

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Decision

Should the Board of Regents approve an amendment to the master plan of Molloy College to authorize the College to offer its first program at the doctoral level, in support of registering a Ph.D. program in Nursing?

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

Required by State regulation.



Proposed Handling

This question will come before the Higher Education Committee at its January 2010 meeting, where it will be voted on and action taken.  It will then come before the full Board at its January 2010 meeting for final action.

Procedural History

Molloy College has submitted a proposal requesting registration of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Nursing. The proposed program represents the College’s first program at the doctoral level.

The Department conducted a canvass of all degree-granting institutions of higher education in the Long Island region and all doctoral degree-granting institutions statewide. The Department received responses from 17 institutions; one institution objected to the proposed program.

Background Information

Molloy College (Rockville Centre) seeks to amend its master plan to allow it to establish a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Nursing. Master plan amendment is needed because this would be the College’s first program at the doctoral level, and it will be in the health professions discipline area. The Regents will consider separately a charter amendment to authorize the College to award the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

The College has 21 registered programs that prepare candidates for RN and/or Nurse Practitioner licensure/certification, with awards ranging from the B.S. to the Advanced Certificate and M.S. The College plans to admit cohorts of 10 students to the Ph.D. program; by the fifth year, total enrollment is projected to be 36 to 44 students, depending on attrition.

The program accommodates varied interests of students with a structured sequence of theoretical coursework, a 15 credit research core, and faculty-guided research activities including a required research residency. The program has been designed to foster scholarly integration (around hubs of faculty research expertise), intellectual community, and a sense of stewardship that will inform graduates’ roles, skills, and principles as practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. A humanistic perspective guides the educational process and forges linkages to research, stewardship and value-centered scholarship. According to the College, this humanistic perspective, with attention to multi-disciplinary contributions and insights, is unique to this program.

A team of external peer reviewers approved by the Department evaluated the proposed program in 2007 and provided recommendations. The team’s review included an assessment of the program (faculty, curriculum, resources and facilities, administration, assessment, and more) as well as an assessment of the College’s readiness to move to a new degree level. Through its responses to the 2007 site visit team and to follow up on inquiries from the Department (most recently in September 2009), Molloy has satisfactorily addressed all recommendations. 

Consistent with its master planning process, the Department conducted a canvass of all degree-granting institutions of higher education in the Long Island region and all doctoral degree-granting institutions statewide. The Department received responses from 17 institutions. One institution (Adelphi University) objected to the proposed program, while the remainder offered no objections; some referenced the need for nursing programs. Adelphi University expressed concern about the effect of the program on its Ph.D. Nursing program, citing the geographic proximity of the two institutions and its belief that a limited number of nurses enroll in on-site doctoral programs. More information about the canvass results appears in Attachment A.

The external review team noted “evidence of impressive support for this program from nursing leaders, representing major employers and significant potential research partners in nursing and healthcare.” The Department has determined that the proposed program meets the standards of registration set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. In addition, the Department concludes that the proposed program has a unique focus and will contribute to the State’s ability to address the critical, longstanding shortage of advanced practice nurses and nursing faculty.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Board of Regents approve the amendment to the master plan of Molloy College to authorize the College to offer its first program at the doctoral level, in support of registering a Ph.D. program in Nursing. The amendment will be effective until January 31, 2011, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.

Timetable for Implementation

If the Board of Regents approves the master plan amendment and (under separate action) related charter amendment, the Department will register the program and the institution will proceed to recruit and enroll students.


Attachment A

Additional Information in Support of the Proposed Action

Molloy College applied in September 2008 to register a Ph.D. in Nursing, following more than two years of working with the Department in developing the program. The College, which has 21 registered programs that prepare candidates for RN and/or Nurse Practitioner licensure/certification, states that it has a 50-year mission commitment to the education of nurses. Its nursing programs encompass baccalaureate, advanced certificate, and master’s programs.

By way of context, SUNY Buffalo, Columbia University, SUNY Binghamton, New York University, and Adelphi University offer the only Ph.D. programs in nursing in New York State. In addition, the Department has registered 42 DNP (practice oriented) programs at 7 institutions (8 campuses).

In September 2009, the Department canvassed all degree-granting institutions of higher education in the Long Island region and all doctoral-degree granting institutions Statewide. The Department received responses from 17 institutions; one institution, Adelphi University, objected to the proposed program:

We are concerned about the effect of this program on the similar program at Adelphi University's School of Nursing, especially given the close geographic proximity of the two programs, less than five miles apart, and the limited number of nurses, nationally, who actually enroll in on-site doctoral programs. In fact, there are no waiting lists for any doctoral programs in our catchment area.

Adelphi's response also described the resources and structures the University has established to ensure the rigor of its Nursing Ph.D. program.

Other Long Island institutions, however (e.g., Dowling College and Five Towns College) acknowledged local, regional, and national need for nurses in responding to the canvass. SUNY Farmingdale noted that "the short supply of qualified faculty members in Nursing leads us to hire some new faculty without the terminal degree and to require them to attain the doctorate before being granted tenure...the addition of a Ph.D. program will provide a good option for some of our faculty candidates."

Molloy College provided a comprehensive response to Adelphi's objections. Key points and program attributes include the following:

 

  • The Molloy program will provide foci that differ from such nearby programs as the Adelphi Ph.D. and the practice-oriented DNP at SUNY Stony Brook. The College states its program will “address the broader supply need of producing scholars with research skills in leadership roles to address health matters of policy, ethics, clinical care, health information systems as well as nursing education.” For example, a collaborative relationship with Catholic University of America will provide opportunities for health policy experiences in Washington, D.C.
  • The proposed program is aligned with the College’s particular mission and is “...grounded in the Dominican values of service leadership with emphasis on community.” For example, the “Humanistic Nursing Framework addresses nursing as its central concept with its program goals to produce scholars and leaders in policy, research, professional organizations, and education who can impact the health care delivery system and advocate for vulnerable populations.”

 

  • Consistent with the findings of a College survey of master’s-prepared nurses, the College has developed a database of more than 75 "very interested" candidates. Given the College’s longstanding RN programs, it is likely the area's supply of Molloy bachelor's and master's graduates alone will provide a foundation for program enrollments. The cohorts planned—10 students or less—suggest the region has the capacity to support the program.

 

  • Noting the greater-than-forty-percent minority student enrollment in its master’s programs, the College states that institutions “with demonstrated successes in minority enrollment and high minority masters graduation rates will be instrumental in providing the feeder populations for doctoral programs. A concerted effort to educate future leaders in nurses of color will help supply the nation’s workforce with highly educated health professionals.”
  • Responding to the external review team, the College has enhanced its core of faculty scholars, increased its library resources, and revised its initial curriculum proposal to foster a program that evidences scholarly integration (around hubs of faculty research expertise), intellectual community, and a sense of stewardship that will inform graduates’ roles, skills, and principles as practitioners, researchers, and policymakers.

 

In its report, the external review team noted “evidence of impressive support for this program from nursing leaders, representing major employers and significant potential research partners in nursing and healthcare.”

The Department (including representatives of the Office of Higher Education and Office of the Professions) has determined that the proposed program meets the standards of registration set forth in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. In addition, the Department concludes that the proposed program provides a unique focus and will contribute to the State’s ability to address the critical, longstanding shortage of advanced practice nurses and nursing faculty.

Quote is from a letter from Adelphi University dated October 8, 2009.