Andrews University, Southwestern Michigan College Awarded Major State Grant

Andrews University

Andrews University, Southwestern Michigan College Awarded Major State Grant

The schools’ nursing programs will benefit from the funds as they partner together to provide quality education to future health professional

United States | Andrew Francis

In the fall of 2023, Andrews University and Southwestern Michigan College (SMC) were awarded a $2 million partnership grant by the State of Michigan to support collaboration between the two schools’ nursing programs over the next five years. The grant will bolster the Associate Degree program at Southwestern and provide resources for nurses who wish to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) at Andrews. This overall initiative builds on the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that 80 percent of registered nurses were to have their BSN by 2020.

According to Barbara Harrison, interim chairperson and director of the Andrews University’s Undergraduate Nursing Program, most of the funds are currently being utilized at SMC because the primary goal of the grant is to support colleges and provide resources that will ensure smooth transitions and create awareness around this partnership. Andrews University primarily benefits from the grant by receiving funding for adjunct professors and gaining additional SMC nursing students who transfer to Andrews to finish their undergraduate degrees and pursue higher education.

As the nation’s population ages and it sees a rise in chronic health conditions, the United States’ healthcare system is struggling to provide adequate access to care, particularly as it faces critical nursing shortages across the country. Having a more educated nursing workforce will allow nurses to take a more active role in leadership, education, and advanced practice, all of which require more nurses to have a BSN.

While the grant was being finalized in the state legislature, Harrison had already been speaking with the dean at SMC about collaborative opportunities as they were already members of a joint team of nursing experts at the college level in the Western Michigan area.

Although there is no current indication of a potential grant renewal, Andrews’ School of Nursing plans to continue collaborating with SMC and other area schools. Harrison states, “Both myself and the SMC dean are committed to making a smooth pathway for the nurses to get a baccalaureate degree.… It’s a very warm relationship.”

In addition to this bond between nursing schools, Harrison shared that her department has been building bridges through memorandums of understanding with domestic and international colleges and various hospital systems. In the fall of 2025, students from schools like Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica can begin their degree process with their respective schools for their first two years and then transfer their credits to Andrews and only take two more years of classes to receive a complete baccalaureate degree. Programs like this help to strengthen an already growing nursing department at Andrews.

To learn more about the School of Nursing at Andrews University, please visit the website here.

The original version of this story was posted on the Andrews University website.