Fresno State announced recently that it will not admit any new students into its School of Nursing’s master’s program this fall because of a loss of accreditation in that program.
Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State, said the loss of accreditation resulted from a shortfall in satisfying certain documentation requirements of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). CCNE’s decision, announced June 5, does not affect any graduates of the master’s program, including those who received degrees in May 2019, or any other accredited programs in the School of Nursing.
The master’s program typically enrolls 20 to 30 students per year. It has been accredited since 1968 and has produced about 1,500 graduates.
Hironaka-Juteau said she believes the School of Nursing can meet CCNE’s requirements for a full restoration of accreditation, eliminating any effects on the 23 students currently enrolled in the two-year master’s program.
“We did not expect the commission to take this action, and we regret the temporary uncertainty this issue has created for our students,” Hironaka-Juteau said. “We are moving swiftly to restore accreditation to the nursing master’s program, and we are committed to minimizing any potential impact on our 23 currently enrolled students.”
CCNE determined that the master’s degree program failed to adequately document or provide adequate supporting data of its methods for assessing and evaluating student outcomes, curriculum, clinical experiences, faculty performance and overall program goals. In some instances, the accrediting body noted the University had plans or policies in place to address such issues, but failed to adequately document that it had implemented its policies or plans.
“The educational quality of the nursing master’s program is exemplary, as evidenced by our graduates’ success in their profession at medical institutions throughout the San Joaquin Valley and beyond,” said Dr. Robert Harper, interim provost at Fresno State. “The loss of accreditation resulted because we didn’t sufficiently document our procedures and results to the accrediting body’s satisfaction.”
To expedite a resolution, Fresno State has arranged for CCNE to review the master’s nursing program during a site visit in September to consider reinstating the master’s program accreditation. Fresno State will be notified of CCNE’s accreditation decision in spring 2020.
If accreditation is reinstated as a result of that site visit, it would be retroactive to the time of the site visit in September, resulting in no net impact to the 23 students who are currently enrolled in the master’s program.
The College of Health and Human Services, which houses the School of Nursing, is notifying all 23 students who are currently enrolled in the program about the implications of the CCNE action.
“Given our confidence in accreditation being reinstated in spring 2020, we are encouraging the master’s students to remain in the program so they can complete their degrees in a timely manner,” Hironaka-Juteau said. “They also have the option of taking a leave of absence or withdrawing completely from the program.”
Several immediate steps are being taken to resolve the issues that caused CCNE to withdraw the accreditation of the nursing master’s program:
● School of Nursing officials and faculty are working with the Fresno State assessment coordinator to better provide the documentation needed to achieve re-accreditation.
● The School of Nursing has hired an outside consultant who has extensive experience working with CCNE to help facilitate the preparation of materials needed for a successful site review.
● School of Nursing leadership and faculty members will work vigorously to help raise reporting standards to the level required to meet CCNE’s expectations.
Nursing students are encouraged to visit the School of Nursing’s website for more information including contact information.