7/15/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University has received a $1.58 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for "Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention" at the university. One hundred percent of the Ashland University project will be financed with federal grant dollars from HRSA.
The primary objective of the grant, to be disbursed over a three-year period, is to increase the baccalaureate nursing enrollment with a focus on the recruitment of minority and disadvantaged students as well as implementation of a retention program to promote their completion of the program.
"I am very pleased that HRSA has awarded this grant to Ashland University's Schar College of Nursing," said Faye Grund, dean of the College of Nursing. "The long-term goal of Ashland University's project is to increase enrollment of baccalaureate students from the current number of 355 to a projected number of 700 students with an emphasis on increasing the numbers of students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds."
Grund said the three-year project proposed by Ashland University was based on four outcomes: 1) increasing enrollment of traditional, accelerated and RN to BSN students through enhanced marketing and mentorship of students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds; 2) increasing retention of minority and disadvantaged students by 3 percent each project year; 3) expanding the capacity for simulated learning experiences for students capturing scenarios of culturally diverse and underserved populations within the state of Ohio; and 4) recruiting and developing faculty from underrepresented, diverse backgrounds to facilitate the recruitment of students from these same backgrounds and increase faculty awareness regarding diversity issues.
Grund said the grant also will benefit the medically underserved in the state of Ohio by increasing the numbers of professional nurses available to provide safe, quality care in the state.
"The grant outcomes will now involve people from a number of areas at the University, including enrollment, retention, marketing, diversity and financial aid," Grund said. "Ashland University staff from these areas worked to make this grant happen and will work together to make sure we reach these project outcomes."
Dr. Fred Finks, president of Ashland University, called the grant award "wonderful news." "This has truly been a collaborative effort led by our development team. Our grant office and the College of Nursing worked hard in preparing a great proposal at a very important time for us," stated Finks.
"This grant, which includes simulation equipment along with program development and new faculty, will enable Ashland University to expand its outreach to better serve health care needs throughout Ohio," Finks said. "This plan to increase enrollment is crucial for the nursing workforce during a time when the nursing profession is challenged with shortages."
The leader of the University's development team for this project was Margaret Pomfret, associate vice president of institutional advancement and campaigns, who said she truly appreciates HRSA's support of the University's project.
"The folks at HRSA helped us immensely as we developed this concept," Pomfret said. "This is very exciting because the grant provides the financial resources to allow for the purchase of simulation equipment that will enhance student learning in the upcoming academic year as well as when the College of Nursing moves into its new building."
Ashland University broke ground in June for construction of a $15.5 million Dwight Schar College of Nursing facility at the corner of Trimble Road and Marion Avenue in Mansfield. The new 46,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to be open for classes in the fall of 2012, will include a variety of clinical practice labs, including the Center for Simulations, Health Foundations Practice Lab, Family Health Practice Lab, Adult Health Practice Lab, Complex Care Practice Lab, ICU/CCU/NICU Patient Room and Advanced Care Lab. Other spaces in the College will include traditional classrooms, faculty/staff offices, student study and lounge areas, and student support spaces.
In August of 2010, Ashland University acquired MedCentral College of Nursing as part of its strategic plan to expand its health care program to meet the demand for qualified nurses in Ohio and the United States. The new building will replace the old MedCentral facility on Glessner Avenue, which is being leased by the University as part of the agreement with MedCentral.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.