Enrollment at GW’s youngest school has more than doubled since 2012, the dean of the school said this month.
Pamela Jeffries, the dean of the School of Nursing, said at a Faculty Senate meeting this month that there has been a steady increase in total enrollment since 2010, the year the school was established, but that these enrollment increases are normal for a relatively new school. She said she expects enrollment to level out over the next few years, but that the school is hiring faculty to accommodate a larger student body.
There was a 59 percent increase in overall enrollment from 2012 to 2016, with a 147 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment, Jeffries said at the meeting.
She added that there are about 60 faculty members currently teaching at the school – 47 full-time and 14 part-time.
“Faculty are being hired where the teaching needs exist in addition to bringing in scholarship and research that support the school’s mission,” Jeffries said. “Growing our faculty and support is necessary as the student capacity increases.”
Jeffries said the school currently has about 800 students between the Virginia Science and Technology Campus and online. The online program houses the majority of students, with 596 students from 47 states enrolled in the school’s registered nurse and bachelor’s of science in nursing programs.
Jeffries said she was “thrilled” that the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity, an initiative which helps universities implement online programs across state borders, signed off on the school’s online programs in September.
The school’s online program landed the No. 26 spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings this year, tied with Duquesne and Michigan State universities.
In September 2015, Jeffries said she hoped to prioritize growing research and scholarship during her first year as deanship to propel the school in national rankings. Since then, the school has moved from No. 58 to No. 34 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, tied with Medical University of South Carolina and University of San Diego.
Jeffries said multiple factors contributed to the school’s rise in rankings, including a greater focus on faculty recruitment, research and funding. She added that graduates’ and faculty’s performance outside the school have contributed to the rise, and that she plans for the school to reach the top 25 in rankings within five years.
“Our student, faculty and staff go out into the world and represent GW Nursing in a very positive, influential, and impactful manner, which contributes to our reputation and position in the rankings,” Jeffries said.
Students taking the NCLEX, a pre-licensure exam, have a 92 percent passage rate and advanced practice nursing students have an almost 100 percent certification rate, she added.
As a new, steadily growing school, Jeffries said fundraising has been a challenge because they have a young alumni base.
“Being a young, emerging school at six years old, there is a challenge since our alumni base is young and small, yet growing,” Jeffries said in an email.