Joliet Junior College and Illinois State University have agreed to a dual degree program that ensures a seamless path for nursing students to progress from their associate degree to a bachelor’s.
Representatives from the schools gathered at JJC Oct. 30 to formally sign the agreement.
“It is our collective duty to provide high quality education and streamline access to that education,” said JJC President Dr. Judy Mitchell. “As many of you know, there’s a nursing shortage across the country. We must work together to develop as many pathways as we can to train our workforce to meet these demands.”
ISU President Dr. Larry Dietz thanked the nursing students, faculty, and staff in attendance at the signing.
“What you do is huge, and what you’re going to do is even greater. So congratulations to all those who are entering a very noble profession to make a difference in the lives of so many,” said Dietz.
The dual degree allows nursing students to enroll in both JJC and ISU programs simultaneously in order to complete their bachelor of nursing (BSN) at a faster pace. It also provides a direct transition from their associate degree in nursing (ADN) to an online BSN program.
“Our students are keenly aware of these pathways in education beyond the associate degree. Many look for opportunities to quicken the route to their educational goal attainment through programs such as dual enrollment,” said Dr. Randy Fletcher, JJC vice president for academic affairs. “JJC nursing students will be able to truly enter the workforce at the BSN level at such a faster pace and be able to contribute to the local economy much, much sooner.”
Dean of ISU’s Mennonite College of Nursing, Dr. Judy Neubrander, called the agreement a symbol of both institution’s commitments to the nursing profession and the progression of nursing education.
“This dual enrollment partnership brings together two great nursing programs to provide our students an expedient, valuable, affordable route to a baccalaureate degree,” Neubrander added.
“Working together to promote the progression of nursing education in Illinois has been a very rewarding experience and I look forward to seeing the rewards come to fruition,” said Dr. Amy Gray, JJC dean of nursing, health and public services.
The agreement with ISU enhances JJC’s existing university partnership initiatives, which are growing educational access paths for all students.
In the coming months, JJC will open the Adult Pathways and University Partnership Center at its Romeoville Campus. The center will serve as a hub for transfer opportunities that provide students with various on-campus and online courses to complete a bachelor’s degree locally.
For media inquiries, contact JJC Communications and Media Coordinator Scott Harvey at 815-280-2844 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Illinois State University Director of Marketing and Recruitment Emily McMahon at 309-438-0763 or eemcma1@IllinoisState.edu.