June 23, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 25

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Health Science Center, Texas A&M-Kingsville announce nursing partnership at Palo Alto College 


Marc Cisneros (left), president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and Dr. John P. Howe, III, president of the Health Science Center, celebrate the signing of a new nursing partnership during a ceremony on the Palo Alto College campus.

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 Health Science Center and Texas A&M  University-Kingsville. 

The Health Science Center BSN program, taught by faculty in the 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  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. 

"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 Dr.  John P. Howe, III, UTHSC president. "Our institutions will work together in close  cooperation to provide students with the very finest nursing education." 

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;  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  BSN 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 Texas 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. 

"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 Dr. Rosario Torres Raines,  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 when we work  together."