Cecil College nursing

Marta Hayden (left), then an assistant professor of nursing at Cecil College, works with a student on a human patient simulator in 2010.

NORTH EAST — Cecil College has signed a dual admission agreement with the University of Maryland School of Nursing, the latest in a series of agreements the college has signed to enable students to more easily earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The agreement will allow students in the Cecil College nursing program to work on earning their associate degree from the college and their bachelor’s degree from UMD at the same time, said Dr. Christy Dryer, Cecil College’s acting vice president of academic programs.

“This really gives them a head start and they can jumpstart their bachelor’s education,” she said. “University of Maryland is nationally ranked, so to have that in our background and have that opportunity for our students is just fantastic.”

“The faculty and staff at Cecil College have been exceptionally forward thinking on developing and implementing the dual-admission option,” added Dr. Nina Trocky, assistant professor and associate dean for the baccalaureate program. “This agreement allows us to honor a commitment we’ve made to our students who are pursuing a career in nursing.”

The agreement with UMD was signed last fall, and four students have already enrolled in the program for the current spring semester, Dryer said. Cecil College has a similar agreement with Towson University, which was signed last spring, with 10 students already enrolled in that program. Another agreement with Frostburg University is also in the works, Dryer added.

In addition to these dual admission agreements, Cecil College also has nine or 10 articulation agreements with various other area colleges and universities, Dryer said. While dual admission agreements allow students to work on two degrees at once, articulation agreements merely stipulate that the institution will accept all of the student’s Cecil College credits as a package, she noted.

The impetus behind the push for more dual admission agreements was a recent report by the Institute for Medicine that looked at the future of nursing, Dryer said. One of the report’s findings was that, going forward, nursing is going to require more and more education to meet the needs of the community for health care, she said.

“We took that to heart and started seeking other ways for our students to get their bachelor’s degree or their master’s degree,” Dryer said.

She noted that area colleges have been eager to sign such agreements because students who start their degrees with Cecil College are much more likely to complete them. And having agreements with many different schools gives students more options, since students look for different things in nursing programs, Dryer said.

The Cecil College nursing program currently has 120 to 130 students depending on the time of the year and Dryer expects many more of them to participate in the dual enrollment programs in the years to come. The agreements with Towson and UMD were announced with little warning to students and the college hasn’t even had time to properly advertise these opportunities yet, she added.

“But for our first time out of the gate, to have 10 enrolled in Towson and four starting University of Maryland is just incredible,” Dryer said.

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