Indiana State University Newsroom



Gift to help College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services train more nurse educators

November 16, 2011

An anonymous gift to the Indiana State University Foundation will help the university address a nationwide shortage of nurses by providing scholarships to students who plan to become nurse educators.

The $50,000 gift will fund scholarships for up to 10 students during the next two to four years. The students must agree to teach in the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services after completing a Ph.D., Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Education.

"Faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student capacity at a time when the need for nurses continues to grow," said Biff Williams, dean of the college. "Indiana State University has invested significantly in its nursing program in hopes of increasing student capacity. This gift will not only provide a doctoral education to nurse educators who have master's degrees, but also increase the number of nursing faculty with doctoral degrees teaching within our nursing programs."

This year, more than 500 freshmen at Indiana State have declared nursing as their major, but a shortage of qualified faculty means the program must limit its capacity to 120 students per year.

"Nursing is an especially competitive field. The high demand for nurses - from the classroom to the emergency room - makes it difficult to recruit highly qualified faculty members," Williams said. "We have identified part-time faculty members who are excellent instructors with master's degrees. Most of these instructors are practicing nurses in Wabash Valley health care facilities. We want to help them complete a doctorate in hopes of hiring them full-time."

Nationwide, only one-third of nurse educators hold doctorates, compared with 60 percent of all post-secondary faculty members, Williams noted.

Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Indiana State, said the university's nursing and allied health programs have received state and regional recognition for their efforts to address the health care shortage and the gift will help keep that momentum going.

"ISU strives to ensure that its students receive a high-quality education in an environment recognized for excellence in teaching and research," Maynard said. "This gift will enable us to follow through on that commitment to even more students by adding to the ranks of nursing faculty members with terminal degrees."

Contact: Biff Williams, dean, College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, Indiana State University, 812-237-3683 or biff.williams@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu