Langston University’s nursing program remains on track to expand to the University Center of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore, but there are still details that need to be hammered out before the decision is made final.
The UCSO board of trustees discussed the matter at a meeting Thursday afternoon. UCSO Interim CEO Peggy Maher said Langston will make their final decision in September and should be able to introduce courses in January. The four-year nursing program would replace East Central University’s nursing program, which will pull out completely before the upcoming fall semester.
“[Langston] doesn’t want to just bring programs,” Maher said. “They want to find out what the community wants them to bring, what they need them to bring, what works for them.”
Langston administrators met with the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce to discuss the community’s needs and requested a Community Needs Assessment for Ardmore, something the University Center hasn’t done since 2007. Maher said the plan is to survey high school students, current students, community leaders and potential students in an online survey to come up with a more current picture of the community’s concerns.
“The group that wasn’t really hit last time was the potential
students,” Maher said.
The University Center also met with Mercy Hospital since last month’s board meeting to discuss the potential new program. Maher said the hospital is interested, but the program would need to find nurses to serve as adjuncts for nursing students to complete the hands-on clinical portion of their degree.
UCSO policy dictates that institutions can’t offer courses that participating institutions, like Murray State College and Southeastern University, already offer or are interested in offering at UCSO. While Murray State College does offer a nursing program, it’s a two-year degree program and is not in conflict with Langston’s.
Maher said after meetings with all three universities, Langston’s administrators came up with possible degree programs they could bring to UCSO in the future. The list included agriculture programs, criminal justice, cybersecurity, natural resources, conservation and animal science.
“I do want to reiterate, too, that they don’t have approval for any programs besides nursing,” Maher said. “To move to the next phase, we’d have to get approval.”
The upcoming fall semester will mark the center’s first semester sans ECU’s nursing program since the university pulled out.