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School of Nursing Named National League for Nursing Center of Excellence

The School of Nursing at Widener University has been named as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence for 2013-2017. Among the categories to achieve Center of Excellence (COE) status Widener University chose "Creating Environments That Advance the Science of Nursing Education," an area the School of Nursing has been focused on since establishing the Doctor of Nursing Science degree in 1983 under the leadership of Professor Emerita Janette Packer. There have been over 180 doctorally-prepared nurses to graduate from the program, which was designed to prepare nurse educators and leaders to advance nursing education. In 2008, it became a Doctor of Philosophy degree.founders hall

"This is an honor of the highest caliber," Dr. Deborah Garrison, dean of the School of Nursing said of the achievement. "This represents the work of the entire faculty as they advance the science of nursing education. Their focus on advancing the science of nursing education assures preparation of outstanding alumni from our undergraduate and graduate programs. These individuals are enhancing the well-being of people across the nation and around the globe."

The proposal was developed with the leadership of Dr. Barbara Patterson, professor and director of the PhD program, in collaboration with Dr. Anne Krouse, professor, and Dr. Mary Baumberger-Henry, associate professor, of the School of Nursing at Widener, and the dedicated support of Garrison. The proposal on Creating Environments That Advance the Science of Nursing Education included evidence-based findings that support the vision of the faculty and their commitment to developing a curriculum that engages students in an innovative, student-centered environment.

"Our faculty has a commitment to a collective vision supporting advances in the science of nursing education," Patterson said.

According to National League for Nursing (NLN) President Dr. Judith Halstead, it's the "visionary leadership (of the COEs) that set the standard for nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the nation's health, guided by the core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence."

"As a NLN Center for Excellence we will continue to sustain an environment that supports the faculty in creating the next generation of nurse leaders and scholars, as well as the next generation of advance practice and generalist practice nurses," Garrison said.

After a very selective process this spring the Board of Governors of the NLN recently announced the Centers for Excellence. The COEs will be recognized at the NLN's Annual Education Summit in Washington, DC in September.

The four-year term status is giving to programs who are receiving COE status for the first time. Students enrolled in these programs also have the opportunity demonstrate the meaning of excellence in nursing education and what it means to be a part of a COE program in a paper competition, which is recognized at the annual conference.

Since 2004, the NLN has issued an annual invitation to nursing schools to apply for COE status. Applicants are judged on their ability to demonstrate in concrete, measurable terms sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, or student learning and professional development. There are now a total of 29 NLN COEs, 25 schools of nursing that represent the spectrum of higher education, and four health care organizations.

Please see below for the complete list, by category, of 2013-17 COEs. For more information about the COE program click, here

Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 37,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members. NLN members represent nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations and agencies.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website,