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Health Science Center, A&M-Kingsville announce nursing partnership at Palo Alto College (6-19-00)

South Side residents will be able to study for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in their own neighborhood, thanks to a partnership announced Monday, June 19, by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

The Health Science Center BSN program, taught by faculty in UTHSC’s School of Nursing, will begin this fall with some classes offered at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville System Center-Palo Alto. Offerings at the new site are pending approval by the state’s Board of Nurse Examiners and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Students will apply for the program through the UTHSC School of Nursing.

The new A&M-Kingsville System Center is located at Palo Alto College on the South Side and provides an upper-division (junior and senior courses) complement to the lower division (freshman and sophomore courses) of the community college.

Student surveys revealed a sharp demand on the South Side for four-year programs including the nursing bachelor’s degree. The Kingsville campus, which will offer business administration-management and other programs at the System Center, does not have a nursing program. The new partnership represents a unique blending of academic resources from components in The University of Texas and The Texas A&M University systems and from the Alamo Community College District, of which Palo Alto is a campus. Palo Alto is located at 1400 W. Villaret Blvd., just north of Loop 410 South.

"While we already have a cooperative record between our School of Nursing and A&M in South Texas, today’s partnership is especially significant," said John P. Howe, III, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. "Our institutions will work together in close cooperation to provide students with the very finest nursing education.

"Educational opportunities such as this one are important beachheads to reach our goal of graduating classes at all degree levels that are representative of the diversity in our city and region," he added.

Marc Cisneros, president of Texas A&M-Kingsville, said the agreement with the Health Science Center is the final step in cementing the bachelor’s degree programs to be offered at the System Center. "I want to thank all the people at the Health Science Center for working with us on this nursing program, and I commend them for recognizing the importance of this initiative and stepping forward to make it happen. I am proud of the efforts of all of our partners, because I think this work proves that students come first in South Texas."

Dr. Howe said students living in San Antonio’s South Side will begin to see a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree as well within their reach. "Most college students nationally—and this is very applicable within the Hispanic community—are enrolled in community colleges," he said. "Moving from community college to a four-year degree and then perhaps to a master’s or doctoral degree should be a nearly seamless pathway for every serious student in South Texas."

Thirty students will be admitted to the new BSN program this fall.

The Higher Education Coordinating Board approved formation of the System Center in late January. A&M-Kingsville has set up programs at the System Center to offer upper-level courses leading to bachelor’s degrees in business administration- management, computer information systems, education-interdisciplinary studies, nursing, psychology and criminology. The center also will offer the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) program.

"When these nursing students graduate, their degrees will be from The University of Texas, but they will have earned these degrees at a Texas A&M System school that is located on a community college campus," said Rosario Torres Raines, Ph.D., executive director of the System Center. "It sounds complicated, but I think it shows how important collaboration can be and how much we can do for the citizens of South Texas when we work together."

Contact: Will Sansom