Henderson starts bid for doctorate

Posted: November 14, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Henderson State University will start the process of changing its role and scope to offer its first doctoral degree.

The Arkadelphia university's board approved plans to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, along with a Master of Science in Nursing, on Friday. The master's program -- which is set to enroll its first class in January 2019 -- will produce either nursing administrators or practitioners and "will flow naturally" into the doctoral program, the university said in a news release.

The academic programs are "an extension" of Henderson's recent partnership with CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs to produce more nurses in the region, said university Provost Steve Adkison. Under the partnership, St. Vincent will give Henderson $500,000 over three years -- which has helped add faculty and create an online, accelerated program to help registered nurses earn Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing -- and another $200,000 per year in financial aid packages for nursing students.

To offer the doctoral program, the university will need to undergo a role and scope change with the state Department of Higher Education and its accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission. The change is necessary because the school is not currently approved to offer any degrees at that level. The academic programs will also need approval.

NW News on 11/14/2017