The accreditation and approval process required to fully implement Michigan Technological University's new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is complete.
The program, created to rehome Finlandia University's nursing program after the institution's closure in May, cleared the final hurdle — approval by Michigan Tech's institutional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission — on Oct. 9.
The effort to establish the program and continue nursing education in the Copper Country received rapid and widespread support across the community, including Tech's clinical partners in the region. Finlandia faculty, staff and students who made the transition to Tech for the fall 2023 semester have been warmly welcomed, said Andrew Storer, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
"We are delighted that all of the approvals for the nursing program are now in place," Storer said. "I have enjoyed seeing our new nursing faculty get involved in the academic life of the University as they bring their perspectives to different committees and working groups that work to help keep Michigan Tech moving forward."
"Walking across campus and seeing students in nursing scrubs reminds us of our important role as a part of the local community and our contributions to health care resources in the Upper Peninsula."
Storer's support — and the diligent work of faculty, staff and key members of Tech's University Senate — was pivotal to ensuring a quick and successful transition. Storer noted that approvals from the Michigan Board of Nursing and the program's professional accreditor were secured this past summer.
The nursing program is housed in the Department of Biological Sciences within Michigan Tech's College of Sciences and Arts. Program Director Lori Sullivan also stressed the importance of the program's continuation and MTU's partnerships with local clinical partners and regional employers.
"As the only baccalaureate nursing program in the western Upper Peninsula, it was important to keep it in the community," Sullivan said. "Rural communities struggle to attract nurses, especially during a nursing shortage. Educating nurses locally helps to combat that issue, leading to healthier communities."
"Having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at MTU gives local students an opportunity to pursue that career path without leaving the area. This improves the likelihood of them staying in the area after graduation, as well."
While the bachelor's in nursing is new to MTU, nursing education is not. Michigan Tech previously offered an associate degree in nursing from 1973-82. As a history of the program published by the Michigan Tech Archives in 2019 noted many of the graduates chose to remain in the Upper Peninsula. "Graduates, who number a little over 300 in total, continue to faithfully care for patients in hospitals across Michigan and throughout the country, earning professional accolades and successfully pursuing further education in their chosen field," it read. "Meanwhile, majors allowing Huskies to contribute to the ever-changing field of health professions continue to flourish: biological sciences, kinesiology, bioinformatics, and other programs remain popular, groundbreaking choices on campus today."
Michigan Tech's pre-health professions program offers other options for students from all degree areas looking to prepare for careers in health fields ranging from dentistry to veterinary medicine.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.