Galveston College has moved a step closer to offering its first four-year degree programs starting in fall of 2019, President Myles Shelton said.
The college Board of Regents on Nov. 8 approved the two new programs — a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in health care management.
“It’s such a significant momentous commitment on the part of the institution,” Shelton said. “This is something we’ve never done before. This is plowing new ground.”
The college has to first get its programs approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Board of Nursing, Shelton said. The school’s accreditation agency, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, has to also give approval, Shelton said.
The fall semester of 2019 will likely be the earliest the school can roll out the programs, Shelton said.
“We do understand that it’s a process,” Shelton said. “There’s a lot still to be done.”
The board vote last week also approved the required coursework for the two programs. The school will need to develop an admissions process and hire new faculty for the program, Shelton said.
The programs will operate as continuations of associate degrees, and the school will only accept students who are already in the process of getting two-year degrees at Galveston College, Vice President of Instruction Cissy Matthews said.
“We sent a survey to our current nursing students and our current allied health students, and overwhelmingly we had a positive response,” Matthews said.
The effort to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees at Galveston College has been long in the making. The school finally got the green light on June 12, when Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 2118, which allows the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to allow certain colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in applied sciences, applied technology and nursing.
Local legislators state Sen. Larry Taylor and state Rep. Wayne Faircloth authored the bills for their respective chambers.
Offering a four-year education for a cheaper price than a university will be a real benefit for Galveston residents, Faircloth said.
“We’re just excited that the people of Galveston have an opportunity — a pipeline to success — where they can get a baccalaureate degree” for less money, Faircloth said.
The nursing degree in particular was created in response to an anticipated statewide shortage in registered nurses, Shelton said. In October 2016, the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies released a report that said Texas will face a shortage of all types of nurses by 2030.
The anticipated shortages included a projected deficit of almost 60,000 registered nurses, according to the report.
The shortage was projected because of the expected increase in people being treated in nursing homes, residential care and home health care settings, the center said.
Galveston College is only part of the push in Texas to register more nurses, Shelton said.
“It’s a statewide commitment to provide the health care workers that we need for the future,” Shelton said. “Certainly, Galveston College needs to be part of that and deliver that to our community.”