Number of part-time faculty in nursing school jumps after increased enrollment

Media Credit: Anna McGarrigle | Senior Designer

The number of part-time faculty in the School of Nursing nearly doubled last year after experiencing a steady decline.

In 2014, the number of part-time professors jumped from 29 to 57, an increase which the school’s dean said came after increased enrollment in the school.

After the nursing school opened in 2010, the size of the part-time faculty saw a steady decrease, falling from 39 part-time faculty members in 2010 to 29 in 2013, before last year’s large increase broke the trend.

Mary Jean Schumann, the interim dean of the nursing school, said growth in enrollment has occurred in both the Virginia Science and Technology Campus and the school’s online program.

Schumann said increased funding from grants can also tie into the increase in faculty numbers.

“Grant funding often provides for a portion of a full-time faculty, so depending on the specific expertise needed to fulfill the mission, [it will] lead us to make a part-time hire,” Schumann said.

Schumann added that the school has a hiring plan that is “based upon enrollments in existing programs and implementation of new programs.” She declined to comment on the details of the new programs.

Several nursing faculty declined to comment.

The nursing school receives most of its grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2014, professors in the school received $1,308,738 in grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration, nearly double the $705,554 they received in 2013, according to the HRSA Data Warehouse.

The School of Nursing requires that many of the faculty maintain current clinical expertise, Schumann added, so often faculty are hired into part-time positions to allow them to maintain their clinical practice while teaching in the school.

The school bases many of its professional programs online, including its doctoral and masters programs. Pamela R. Jeffries, who is currently the vice provost for digital initiatives at Johns Hopkins University, will be taking over as dean of the school this month.

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