For the 11th consecutive year, the School of Nursing (SoN) at Clayton State University has received grant money from the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia.
According to Dean of the College of Health at Clayton State, Dr. Lisa Eichelberger, the two, two-year grants total $459,502 and have been awarded to hire a technology staff person to support the SoN faculty, and to establish a faculty practice within the Clayton State Student Health Center in cooperation with the Office of Student Affairs.
“These grants are an outgrowth of a Board of Regents appropriation for nursing, aimed at recruiting nursing faculty. The grants had to be targeted towards ideas that would recruit or retain nursing faculty. They were very broad, we were given a creative opportunity to design programs for the specific purpose of recruiting and retention. The Board left it up to individual schools to come up with ideas.”
While these grants will provide support for the Clayton State nursing faculty, they will do much more, enhancing the University’s reputation for providing support for both its students and its community.
“The whole reason the Board of Regents does this is not just for faculty,” says Eichelberger. “The grant is the Nursing Faculty Initiative, but the connection to students is clear. The Board is doing this so we can get more faculty to teach more students. The reason we’re here is to turn out more nurses for the citizenry of Georgia.
“That’s why we want to recruit and retain our nursing faculty. When the faculty has the resources they need, they’re better able to teach the students.”
Eichelberger notes that Clayton State took advantage of the opportunity provided by the BOR to see what issues were causing stressers for the faculty, and to see what was needed to support the work of the nursing faculty and students. Since the School of Nursing is one of the University’s heaviest users of online classes; many of the elective courses in the College of Health as well as the basic licensure nursing courses are on line; and since Clayton State’s Center for Instructional Development doesn’t have the staff to cover all of the online classes, technology support was a logical place to start.
The grant to establish a faculty practice within the new Student Health Center is for Clayton State’s nurse practitioner faculty, those nurses who both teach and hold additional credentials. In order to keep up their certifications, they must also practice as nurse practitioners.
“When you’re teaching full-time, it’s difficult for them to find someplace to practice,” she notes. “The whole idea was, when we got a new clinic we were going to set aside rooms so that the nursing faculty could practice and see patients in the clinic.”
According to Eichelberger, the grant money will be used for planning for a consultant to set up a faculty practice, for equipment to outfit the new rooms, and for staff to handle the billing and paperwork.
Approval for the plan came from Student Health Center Director Polly Parks, and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Elaine Manglitz.
“We are very appreciative of their cooperation,” says Eichelberger. “We are partnering with the Clinic and Student Affairs in this endeavor.”
Eichelberger wrote technology grant for the BOR with assistance from Clayton State Director of Special Projects Jim Flowers, ERM Compliance Officer Cheryl Jordan, and Dean of Assessment and Instructional Development Dr. Jill Lane. Eichelberger notes that Flowers, Jordan and Lane not only supplied data for the grant proposal, but also helped ensure the long-term support from the University.
“This is not just a one-time shot, the program needs to continue after the grant runs its course in two years,” explains Eichelberger. “We received a commitment from Clayton State; President Hynes wrote a letter of support that the University would continue funding after the two-year grants are up, so that program will continue.”