Establishing a Doctor of Philosophy Program in Nursing in an Historically Black College or University

Article excerpt

Abstract: The planning and implementing of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program at Southern University Agricultural & Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, LA (SUBR), an Historically Black College or University (HBCU), are discussed. The steps for initiating this new program in Southern University School of Nursing (SUSON) are included. Background information on the university and the Graduate Nursing Program. The use of consultants, their recommendations for program development, and the SUSON's responses to these recommendations are presented. Additional information is provided about the need for offering the PhD, program objectives, strengths of the SON, the Office of Nursing Research, funded research, faculty development, the curriculum, and financial assistance for students.

Key Words: Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Consultants in Doctoral Nursing Education, Curriculum for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), like other colleges and universities, have protocols for establishing new programs of study. Program planning and development of a PhD program in Nursing at Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Southern or SUBR), an HBCU, are described herein.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Southern University in New Orleans, Louisiana was chartered by the Louisiana General Assembly in 1880 and relocated to Baton Rouge in 1914. Today, there is a Southern University System with the main campus in Baton Rouge and other campuses in Shreveport and New Orleans.

The 512-acre Baton Rouge campus has a multicultural student and faculty population of more than 10,000 and 950, respectively. Nine colleges and schools grant approximately 66 undergraduate, 25 masters, and three doctoral degrees in various fields of study. The first masters programs were initiated in the 1960s. Graduate degrees were offered in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) was implemented in 1992. It was established as a partnership with the Intercollegiate Consortium for the Master's of Science Degree in Nursing (ICMSN). This is a unique collaboration between SUBR and three state supported historically majority institutions: McNeese State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Southeastern University. The State Board of Regents authorizes each institution to offer the MSN. These institutions offer a common core, functional role options, and nonduplicative specialties in advanced study. Southern University offers the concentration in family nursing. The programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC).

In January 1986, the Graduate School at SUBR offered its first doctoral program, the PhD in Special Education. Programs for the PhD in Science/Mathematics Education and in Public Policy followed. The fourth doctoral program, the PhD in Nursing, admitted its first students in August 2001.

One hundred six years elapsed between the inception of the university and the offering of the first PhD program. Clearly, the university's early priority focused on undergraduate education, the essential educational dimension for the societal and economic needs of African Americans, its well-defined target group. Even now the university's purpose indicates that it "... offers a wide range of learning opportunities designed to allow students of different abilities to obtain an education that will withstand rigorous scrutiny" (Southern University and A & M College 1998-2000 Graduate School Bulletin, p. 10). Though colleges and universities in the United States currently admit students without regard to race, creed, or national origin, many African-American along with some Caucasian and other race students have chosen to study at an HBCU. With the increased interest in cultural diversity and cultural competency in health care, HBCUs have a unique responsibility to address related issues. …