By Rocky Garza Jr.
This college is one step away from offering a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Vernell Walker, dean of academic success, said the program is scheduled to begin fall 2021.
Walker said approval was needed from the Board of Nursing, College Curriculum Review Committee, Alamo Colleges Board and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The college is now waiting on approval from the college accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Approval is expected in January or February.
Walker said the college also will be applying for national accreditation for the nursing program in the near future.
Nursing Director Stella Cirlos said students completing the Associate of Applied Science degree at this college will take the NCLEX-RN examination, and if they pass, they will be a licensed registered nurse. If students complete the Bachelor of Science of Nursing degree, they will be an RN with an advanced degree.
The nursing program has been offering classes since 1967 and is the largest educator for registered nurses in San Antonio.
Each semester, some 300-400 students are enrolled in the nursing program. The program has become highly competitive, admitting fewer than 100 new students each semester.
In 2018, the 85th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2118 authorizing public junior colleges that meet specific requirements to offer baccalaureate degree programs.
On Feb. 19, 2018, President Robert Vela told The Ranger the nursing program was an easy choice for which programs would offer baccalaureate programs.
Vela told The Ranger that the main factor the nursing program was considered first was because the state-of-the-art facility, the qualified faculty and partnerships with hospitals have already been established through the nursing program.
Walker said staying with the college program would be appealing to students.
“I think we are competitive with any of the other nursing schools, but we are less expensive,” she said. “Our current Ph. D. nursing faculty will be teaching the BSN courses. It is also a convenience for our students because they are familiar with the policies and procedures of San Antonio College.”
Walker said no other programs are being considered for a bachelor’s degree.