Howard Payne cuts ties with Ranger College nursing program

BROWNWOOD, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - Howard Payne University has announced its plans to dissolve a collaborative arrangement between HPU and Ranger College on nurse education. On Friday, Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, informed the Ranger College president, Dr. Bill Campion, of the university’s intent to end the arrangement. HPU has two primary reasons for this action: lack of student interest and confusion regarding HPU’s stance on Ranger College’s efforts to make Brown County a taxing district.

The agreement originated in August 2016 and was designed to allow students admitted to Ranger College’s pre-licensure Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program to live on the HPU campus, participate in the university’s student life activities and, on completion of the ADN program, apply for admission to HPU’s post-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

Despite publicity about the agreement between the two institutions and some initial interest expressed by students, no students took advantage of the arrangement.

“As part of our university’s culture of assessment, we regularly evaluate the way we deliver course offerings and other programs,” said Dr. Ellis. “After being in place for a full year without any students, it is obvious to us that this collaborative arrangement is not of interest to students.”

Additionally, HPU has not taken a public stance on the matter regarding the proposed taxing district, preferring to leave the decision entirely in the hands of the citizens of Brown County. However, Dr. Ellis expressed concern that the agreement has been misconstrued as an endorsement by HPU of Ranger College’s tax referendum, which is not the case.

“Based on these issues, HPU has decided the best course of action is to dissolve the formal arrangement,” Dr. Ellis said.

The procedure for terminating the agreement by either party is included in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the presidents of the two institutions.

Graduates from Ranger College or elsewhere who are registered nurses (RN) with unencumbered licenses to practice in Texas may continue their education at HPU through the post-licensure RN-to-BSN degree program, and HPU will admit each of those students on a case-by-case basis.

HPU’s post-licensure RN-to-BSN program is directed by Dr. Nina Ouimette, new dean of the university’s School of Nursing. Her career includes 17 years with Abilene’s Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, most recently as dean and professor of nursing with tenure, and previous service at hospitals and health care systems in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, D.C.

As a nursing school administrator, Dr. Ouimette is experienced in matters of program and curriculum development, student and faculty recruitment, nursing regulation and accreditation. In addition to overseeing HPU’s post-licensure RN-to-BSN program, she is directing HPU’s efforts to pursue a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“I have known Dr. Ouimette personally and professionally for more than 15 years,” Dr. Ellis said. “I am absolutely confident Brown County will be very pleased with the high quality of nurse education we are working diligently to bring to our area.”

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