Ashland University Opens New Schar College of Nursing
Classes at Ashland University’s new Dwight Schar College of Nursing in Mansfield started on Sept. 23 and for junior nursing student Michael DeMoss, the move from MedCentral’s College of Nursing to Ashland University’s Dwight Schar College of Nursing has been a seamless one.
“It has been a good experience so far -- it has been very positive,” Michael says. “Things like tuition and curriculum have not changed a lot, which is good.”
While Michael had some apprehension earlier about being a part of a larger school, those fears were put to rest after he attended Ashland University’s orientation program. “The school was very impressive,” he said.
The University is in the midst of a $12 million campaign – “Compassion, Community, Commitment ... Building a Healthy Tomorrow” – to build a 50,000-square-foot academic building for the new Dwight Schar College of Nursing on the school's Balgreen Campus at Trimble Road and Marion Avenue in Mansfield.
In early July, Ashland University announced that the campaign received a jump start through a $5 million naming challenge gift from Ashland University alumnus and longtime supporter
The public announcement of the gift came at the July 6 official merger signing at MedCentral College of Nursing’s Glessner Avenue academic building in Mansfield. Ashland University president Dr. Frederick Finks and James Meyer, MedCentral Health Systems president and CEO, signed the agreement, which followed approval of the merger between the two groups by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and set Aug. 15 as the day when Ashland would take control of the nursing school.
Finks said the university is in the process of selecting architects to design the new academic building. Per the agreement between Ashland University and MedCentral Health System of Mansfield, and until the new building is constructed, Ashland University will lease the program's current academic building as well as its two residence halls located on the Balgreen Campus.
Ashland University Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew said the College of Nursing will serve as the foundation for the allied health sciences programs and will be the catalyst for future program expansion in this area.
“There will be very good interaction between our natural sciences division and this College, so it is a very good fit for us,” Pettigrew said. “This acquisition is part of Ashland University’s strategic plan to expand our healthcare curriculum due to the shortage of qualified nursing professionals.”
According to the latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the shortage of nurses in the U.S. is projected to reach an estimated one million by 2016. Government analysts project that more than 587,000 new nursing positions will be created through 2016 (a 23.5 percent increase), making nursing the nation’s top profession in terms of projected job growth. In addition, the shortage of nurses in the state of Ohio by 2020 is estimated to be 32,000.