Thursday, September 13, 2018

UNM-Gallup adds Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing

By Marilee Petranovich

UNM-Gallup now offers students interested in the field of nursing the option of receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).  The addition of the bachelor’s degree is the result of collaborative statewide partnerships that allows institutions of higher education to share a common curriculum and grant students access to a broader number of program options.  UNM-Gallup previously offered only an on-site Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), but now allows students to fulfill additional requirements for the BSN without having to leave the UNM-Gallup campus.  BSN students who complete the program will receive their Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of New Mexico main campus in Albuquerque, and their Associate of Science in Nursing from UNM-Gallup.  

Students seeking the BSN will have to complete nursing program admission requirements from a range of prerequisites including science, English, math and humanities before they are eligible to enter into nursing coursework.  Once the prerequisites are finished, however, completion of the BSN only requires one more semester than the ADN.  The UNM-Gallup nursing program has 24 spaces available each semester – 8 for the BSN and 16 for the ADN.  The BSN entrants must have all prerequisites completed with a 2.75 grade point average and pass an admissions exam. 

Nursing Program Director Sabrina Ezzell explained several advantages to completion of the bachelor’s program.  “Graduates have a higher earning potential with the BSN.  Additionally, many federal facilities, such as the Veterans Affairs Department, are now requiring a BSN.”  Ezzell went on to recognize the high placement rate of UNM-Gallup nursing graduates. “UNM-Gallup has a 100% hiring rate with many students offered jobs even before they have taken the state boards.  Most graduates stay within an hour of the area accepting employment in Gallup, Grants and Ft. Defiance.”

This BSN partnership with the UNM main campus is the result of the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium’s common statewide nursing curriculum.  This shared curriculum was designed and is shared by 15 programs throughout the state.  Students can seamlessly transfer between institutions that have adopted the NMNEC curriculum for both ADN and BSN programs.  All NMNEC schools have the same admission requirements, program policies and course requirements. 

The process undertaken by UNM-Gallup to integrate the BSN included faculty adoption of the curriculum and assignment of a mentoring school, which was San Juan College in Farmington.  Administrators from the San Juan College nursing program presented to the UNM-Gallup nursing faculty to share information and make recommendations in areas where additional coursework was needed especially in prerequisite areas such as microbiology.

The first group of BSN students started this fall and participated in an orientation with UNM-Gallup faculty as well as Judy Liesveld, education team chair and Susan Koronkiewicz, undergraduate program director from the UNM College of Nursing.  Liesveld remarked, “This program provides an opportunity for students to remain in their home community and get their BSN without having to leave.  I am thrilled for these students.”   Koronkiewicz added, “Hopefully this keeps graduates in the community to live and work.  These are great partnerships that are really rich and allow students to participate in the main campus BSN program”

For more information, please contact the UNM-Gallup Nursing Department at (505) 863-7599 or

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment - How High School/College Partnerships Can Benefit Students

By Marilee Petranovich

The core of UNM-Gallup’s mission is based on preparing all students to achieve their educational and professional goals.  We serve a largely diverse population that includes high school students, traditional students who enter immediately after high school, and non-traditional students who start or return to college later in life to finish or improve their skills.  Providing equal access to all students is an important part of our educational purpose and allows us to offer academic services to broad groups of students.

Dual and concurrent enrollment is one manner in which higher education institutions can open their doors to high school students who want to expand their horizons and explore postsecondary options.  Helping students matriculate from high school to college may seem simple and logical, but there is actually quite a bit of complexity to the equation of how to seamlessly integrate high school graduates successfully into college or directly into the workforce.  Helping students see what their lives might look like after high school and easing the transition into college presents an opportunity for collaboration between the graduating high schools, receiving colleges and the local community.  Using dual and concurrent programs is one such way that students can benefit from carefully designed options that increase their accessibility to a larger variety of academic opportunities.

There is a growing national movement taking root in many communities that is placing responsibility for supporting students at crucial times during their educational journey not only in the hands of school personnel, but in the hands of local businesses, universities and civic members.  Programs such as dual/concurrent enrollment become one of the ways communities can become part of a larger support system for students by combining forces and resources to maximize a student’s probability of successfully choosing a life path that encourages life-long learning and economic well-being. 

Community engagement as a model is gaining strength as it defines efforts aimed at collaboration between postsecondary institutions, high schools and their larger communities.  These opportunities for collaboration focus on improving the chances that students will transition successfully from one level of education to another with clear expectations and measurable outcomes and have access to supports necessary for success.  Furthermore, these programs seek to align with local industry requirements to allow for direct entry into the workforce as required by local employers.  

Dual/concurrent enrollment looks at the collective impact of partners working shoulder to shoulder to identify and eliminate barriers that impede student learning while increasing opportunities.  By hovering between high school and college through dual/concurrent programs, students can be introduced to higher education, begin accumulating a nest egg of college courses, reduce college debt and complete their high school requirements all while benefiting from the support of counselors, instructors and classmates at both sites.

UNM-Gallup is a proud partner in several dual/concurrent credit programs which include the Center for Career and Technical Education, Middle College High School and the McKinley Academy.  While there are some differences in structure, program organization and enrollment requirements, all provide high school students the chance to experience college at the same time they are completing high school.

There are many benefits to students of participating in a dual/concurrent credit program including graduating from high school with college experience and a more realistic understanding of what college expectations are and what is needed to be successful after high school.  Access to programs not available at their high school is another clear benefit of dual/concurrent enrollment.  Early exposure to college classes can also help students enter into career-themed pathways and programs of study.  This ability to concurrently prepare students for both college and careers adds popularity to these secondary/postsecondary partnerships.  

In the state of New Mexico, state statutes direct the objectives of dual/concurrent enrollment to be an increase of opportunities for high school students and a more efficient usage of instructional staff, facilities, equipment, student support services and technical advisory committees at both the high school and the college levels.  These organized partnerships also allow for articulation between curriculum requirements and local workforce needs.

Although there are different ways of offering dual/concurrent enrollment to students, research and experience indicate that the benefits to the students are tremendous in multiple ways.  Students gain exposure to coursework at the college level at an affordable price, they are able to get both high school and college credit simultaneously and they are able to exit their programs with a strong understanding of whether they want to continue on for further college work or enter directly into the workforce.  UNM-Gallup is a proud partner in promoting these opportunities to students.

For more information contact:

(505) 863-7770