Cumberland Times-News

April 15, 2014

The first step

FSU may eventually offer a second doctorate

Cumberland Times-News

— If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

If the university succeeds in getting state and accreditation approval — and funding — it will be the second doctorate program at FSU. Since 2012, the university has had a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership curriculum.

Last week, the school took a big step towards its dream of a doctor of nursing program by receiving approval from the University System of Maryland for a master’s in nursing degree curriculum. Still needed is approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Even though last week’s approval was just a first step, university officials were elated. “We are thrilled to have the approval of the (USM) board of regents,” said Heather Gable, nursing department chair at FSU.

One thing that will make the FSU master in nursing program stand out is that it enable students to receive their degree through online studies.

Jonathan Gibralter, FSU president, said the school’s program is designed to fill a void in nursing administrators and nursing faculty not only in Maryland, but across the country. He said FSU hopes to begin offering classes in the fall of 2014.

Once the program is underway, the school will continue working towards the doctorate in nursing and physician’s assistant programs. Money for planning and design of the new health science building is in the governor's budget for fiscal 2019. Plans call for the building to be located where the Brady Health Center and adjacent parking lots are located now.

Having these nursing degree programs at Frostburg State is a major benefit for not just the university, but for the community at large. We commend FSU’s leadership for this forward-looking plan.