MONTGOMERY—Troy University’s first doctoral class officially began its journey toward a terminal degree today with an orientation and registration session on the Montgomery Campus.
Fifteen Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates met for what could possibly be the last time before their graduation in two years, as the coursework for the DNP program will be offered completely on-line.
“When future historians write the history of Troy University, today will be added to the milestone years,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., Chancellor, speaking before the students, School of Nursing faculty and University officials.
“The first doctoral program for Troy University is the realization of a long-held dream by the Board of Trustees, our faculty and our alumni,” he said. “It opens the door to a new level of service to our students and to our state and it paves the ways for other doctoral programs to follow.”
Dr. Hawkins credited the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for its “great vision” in allowing the creation of the University’s first doctoral program on Dec. 7, 2007.
In 2008, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the region’s agency on accreditation, awarded the University a level change to allow TROY to offer as many as three doctoral programs.
The University first offered graduate program in 1958, and, in 2008, the School of Nursing celebrated its 25th anniversary of the Master of Science in Nursing degree program. TROY has awarded more graduate degrees than any other institution in the state.
Dr. Bernita Hamilton, director of the School of Nursing, said that by offering the DNP, the level of healthcare – particularly in rural areas – will be greatly enhanced.
“Certainly in central and south Alabama, there is a critical need for doctoral-level nursing, both for nurse educators and for practitioners, and this program will ultimately benefit those patients who need and deserve highly-skilled care,” she said. “Doctoral nurses work of the cusp of the field and provide leadership in research and new methods in nursing.”
Students agree with the notion that the doctoral degree will allow them to ultimately provide better care to the patients.
“It will allow me not only to teach better, but be a better practitioner,” said Kelli Cleveland, of Troy, who also teaches in the University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. “For me, the ability to innovate and contribute to the field also lets me better serve the needs in our area.”