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.
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. The HBCU has an obligation to offer programs that respond to the needs of society and its leaders must have the vision to engage in strategic educational planning that is relevant to new and emerging needs for education in a competitive society.
THE PHD IN NURSING AT SUBR
The genesis of the doctoral program links the historical development of the discipline, the growing commitment of the nation to provide health services to all, and the documented national need for nurses capable of, and committed to, quality care through nursing services, research and education. Specifically, SUSON needed to answer three questions:
1. Is it appropriate to develop a doctoral degree in Nursing at SUBR?
2.Is there a need in Louisiana for nurses prepared at the doctoral level?
3. Is the School of Nursing ready to offer a quality doctoral program in Nursing?
In partial response to these questions, the mission of Southern University would be served by offering a doctoral program in nursing. The health needs of the people of Louisiana could be better served by a significant increase in the number of doctorally prepared nurses. At the time of the initial PhD proposal in October 1997, the Division of Nursing, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, projected that Louisiana would need 9,780 masters prepared nurses and 860 doctorally prepared nurses by the year 2000.
On the national level the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that by 2010 the supply of nurses prepared at the master's and doctorate levels would total 250,400, less than half the demand for 531,800 nurses (1988). Year 2005 the shortfall of masters and doctorally prepared nurses would be approximately 200,000. In 1998, 70 doctoral programs produced an average of six graduates per program (AACN, 2001). Though there were 78 nursing doctoral programs in the nation in the 1999-2000 academic year, the small yield continued (AACN, 2001). Given this situation, a doctoral program at Southern University School of Nursing (SUSON) could make an important contribution to meeting the needs of the state and the nation.
In keeping with its vision and strategic plan, SUSON was ready to initiate a PhD in Nursing. Its faculty had a history of securing external funding and had the potential for the essential level of research maturity. Further, its investigation indicated there was a strong pool of applicants that could sustain the rigor of a PhD program.
The Dean of SUSON began planning for the new PhD program in the summer of 1996. In 1997 the Dean and her associates prepared and submitted a proposal. The proposal was approved by the nursing faculty, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Chancellor of SUBR, and the Board of Supervisors. In October 1997 the proposal was submitted to the Board of Regents (BOR). This Board must grant its approval before any state college or university establishes a new academic program or unit. The Board of Regents' external consultants reviewed the proposal and made several recommendations, including resubmission of the proposal following further development and refinement. A summary of the consultants' recommendations and SUSON'S responsive actions in 1998-1999 are in Table I.
Strengths of SUSON
Though the consultants made a number of recommendations, SUSON was confident of its readiness to proceed with the PhD program. Its strengths were:
1. A partnership with Master's programs in an Intercollegiate Consortium
2. Success in obtaining extramural funding for instruction including grants and contracts of over 6.8 million dollars
3. Community partnerships:
a. Institutions in the private sector gave faculty endowment funds of over one million dollars and provided funds for annual health fairs that targeted underserved populations
b. Institutions in the public sector provided funds for nurse managed clinics, including a mobile clinic
4. A national reputation for educating minority nurses. In 1996 SUBR was among 23 HBCUs that offered the bachelor's degree in nursing and one of the six HBCUs that offered the master's degree (The State of African Americans, 1996)
5. Growing research maturity of the nursing faculty
6. Involvement of undergraduate students in research
7. SUBR's arrangement for cross-registration with Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, a Research II institution.
SUSON also acted on the consultants' recommendations. For example, two additional faculty were appointed that met the guidelines for doctoral faculty status, the curriculum was enhances in its focus on health care of vulnerable women and children, and an Office of Nursing Research was established.
SUSON decided to seek consultation from experts in doctoral education. The experts' positions at the time of their consultation, their specializations and areas of consultation as related to the PhD program at SUSON are in Table 2.
In addition to the work of the consultants, SUSON conducted a national survey of all the doctoral programs in Nursing in the United States. The responses provided information on curricula, admission requirements, focuses of study, research interests, and other related topics.
Nature and Objective of the Program
SUBR has a mandate, by virtue of an earlier desegregation agreement with the state of Louisiana, to offer programs that will allow SUBR to achieve the SREB classification as a four-year II University. The PhD in Nursing is one of the programs that will assist the university to achieve this classification.
The PhD in Nursing will prepare scientists to conduct research in nursing and to extend the knowledge base that enhances nursing education, practice, and leadership. Based on the recommendations from the Board of Regents' consultants and Dr. Felton, SUSON's primary program development consultant, SUSON will delimit its focus to health care of vulnerable women and children. Graduates of the program will aspire to careers in education, research, advanced practice, and leadership in health delivery systems and health policy-making. Program graduates should have the competency to:
* Synthesize knowledge from nursing as well as from the biological and behavioral health phenomena that are relevant to the discipline of nursing
* Independently conduct and communicate research that advances the body of scientific nursing knowledge
* Integrate advanced knowledge of nursing and related disciplines to construct, analyze, and test theoretical models that are pertinent to the practice of nursing
* Apply knowledge of philosophical and ethical principles and methods in analyzing health related issues and practice dilemmas
* Provide leadership for nursing in clinical settings, academic settings, and/or political settings
* Integrate in-depth knowledge of theory and research into a substantive field of study
* Seek out new opportunities for exploring phenomena of concern to nursing and health care
Program planning for the PhD was finalized and the University approved the proposal in Fall 2000. The Board of Regents approved the program in February 2001. New faculty with doctoral teaching experience have been appointed. Letters announcing the date of program implementation were sent to the deans of nursing schools in the region, the print media, and potential students. An admissions committee was appointed and information packets and admission materials were prepared. The first students were admitted in Fall 2001. A five-year PhD program implementation plan, including the vision for research, is in place.
OFFICE OF NURSING RESEARCH
The research culture of SUSON has been enhanced considerably since the beginning of program planning for the PhD in Nursing. By the time students were admitted, an Office of Nursing Research had been established and a director had been appointed. During 1999-2000, the Office of Nursing Research funded four pilot projects for nurse faculty. The average award was $10,000. By Spring 2001, the dean and faculty of the SUSON have obtained research grant monies in excess of $11,000,000. Some of the funded grants and principle investigators follow:
Faculty members have presented their research at regional and national conferences. Also, SUSON has hosted two annual research days on campus.
There are two signed agreements between SUSON and Pennington Biomedical Research Center: (1) "Collaborative Agreement for Research Practicum" and "Collaborative Agreement for Post-Doctoral Fellowship."
The curriculum for the PhD program was developed through ongoing collaboration between SUSON faculty and a number nationally recognized eminent nurse scholars. The curriculum is clustered into five components: Core courses (9 credit hours), research courses ( 15 credit hours), focus of study courses (12 credit hours), cognates (9 credit hours), and advanced research and dissertation (15 credit hours). The curriculum can be completed in three years of full time study, including summers. The courses follow: offered each year. In keeping with the terms of the Desegregation Agreement, at least $95,000 of student support will be awarded to other race (Caucasian) students. The expected outcome is a multicultural student population who can devote full-time to study and other scholarly activities.
According to AACN (2001), the 1977 policy statement of the Council of Graduate Schools proposed that the purposes of the PhD are to "prepare for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry, creative scholarship, and research; provide preparation that leads to careers in government, business, and industry as well as academia; and result in an extension of knowledge" (p.8). AACN (2001) cites Berlin and Sechrist (1999) study indicating that 38.1% of the doctorally prepared nurses work in settings other than nursing. In the Pew Foundation sponsored project, Re-envisioning the PhD, the research team headed by Nyquist (2000) conducted over 375 interviews in an open-ended opinion study. The persons interviewed were either obtaining, supervising, funding, or employing PhDs and were asked for their opinion on the process and its outcomes. Selected findings indicate that PhD graduates are often viewed as ill prepared for other than research responsibilities. Leaders in business and industry argue, according to Nyquist, "PhDs lack collaborative ways of thinking, intellectual and task related, that are required in today's working, and ... research interests are often disconnected from other knowledge and real world problems" (p.6). Also, doctoral students indicated that they wanted more exposure to varied options and multiple contexts in which to apply their knowledge and skills (p. 19). Hence, the faculty of the PhD program at SUSON is considering providing for a minor in public policy for students who are interested in such a career path. In addition, because SUBR is a comprehensive university and students are able to cross register at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, advisors and students will consider the array of options that are available to students based on their defined interests.
Faculty and students are excited about the success of the program and the support the program has received from the Graduate School and faculty in other departments in the University. Monitoring and evaluation will be on going, the goal being to become one of the premier programs in the Southern United States.
SUSON enjoys a culturally diverse faculty, although most the faculty members are African-American. Graduate faculty are doctorally prepared. Their diverse educational and societal experiences make them especially sensitive to ethnic and cultural differences among the university's students, faculty, and staff. A degree of empathetic interaction is expected as students surmount the challenges of doctoral education. New faculty for the PhD program totaled 2.5 full-time equivalents (FrEs) in year one. By year three of program implementation, the program faculty should total five FrEs.
In the interest of faculty development, one faculty member has completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at PBRC and another has done additional work there. In addition, see Table 3 for visiting scholars who have conducted sessions at SUSON.
Projected Admission, Enrollment, and Graduates
After a planning year the program was to begin admitting five full-time students per year. Five students from Louisiana were admitted for the Fall 2001. Ideally, at the end of three years, five students per year will graduate. The program aspires to attract a culturally diverse student body from various geographical areas. However, as a state school, the program expects that most of its early students will come from consortium schools, masters prepared faculty in schools of nursing who wish to study for the terminal degree, and from health and health related organizations and agencies in Louisiana.
Financial assistance for students during the first four years of the PhD will come from the Desegregation Settlement resources, external funding, and ultimately, student-generated revenues. The assistance package provides a $22,000 research/teaching assistantship and 100% tuition coverage at $2,400 per year for five full-time students. The award is for three years (two years for course work and one for dissertation). By the third year, 15 assistantship packages will be
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2001). AACN Position Statement: Indicators of quality in doctoral programs in nursing. Washington, D.C.: Author
Berlin, L. E., & Sechrist, K.R. (1999). Projecting the shortage of doctorally prepared nursing faculty: A supply problem of international concern. Centennial Conference, International Council of Nurses, June 28, 1999.
Nyquist, J.D., & Woodford, B. J. (2000). Re-envisioning the PhD.: What concerns do we have? Center for Instructional Development and Research, Seattle: University of Washington.
Southern University and A & M College. 1999-2000 Graduate School Bulletin, p. 10.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Nursing, Public Health Services, Health Resources and Service Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Sixth Report to the President and Congress on the Status of Health
Personnel in the United States, (Pub. No: HRS-P-OD-88-1) Washington, D.C. (June 1988), 10-75. In Moloney, M. M. (1992). Professionalization of nursing: Current issues and trends, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 75-77.
Enrica Kinchen Singleton, DrPH and Janet Simmons Rami, PhD
Enrica Kinchen Singleton, DrPH, in her second year at Southern University Agricultural cP& Mechanical College (SUBR), holds the rank of professor. She has more that 40 years of experience in nursing education, administration and clinical practice. Her earned degrees include a Doctor of Public Health and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University, an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, an MS from University of Southern Mississippi and a BSN from Dillard University. Dr. Singleton has written a number of articles that are published in refereed journals, and has contributed a chapter to each of four books. Currently, she sits on the Louisiana State Board of Nursing and on the Board of Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital. She has had a number of experiences in community service organizations.
Janet Simmons Rami, PhD, has been dean of the School of Nursing at Southern University Agricultural & Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, LA (SUBR) since 1986 and holds the rank of professor. Her BSN is from Dillard University; her MS is from the University of Southern Mississippi, and her PhD is from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She has done further study at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The master's, the nurse practitioner, and the doctoral programs at SUBR were initiated during Dean Rami's term in office. She has received recognition as an outstanding educator on several occasions. Before coming to Southern she worked in a clinical settings for several years. She has published and has been a successful grant writer.
Both Dr. Singleton and Dr. Rami may be reached at Southern University Agricultural & Mechanical College, School of Nursing, P.O. Box 11794, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.…