Lander University will soon introduce two new graduate- level programs, pending approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: a master's degree in Emergency Management and a master's in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader. Both would be unique to South Carolina.
The first master's program in South Carolina focused exclusively on emergency management will begin holding classes in the fall. The Clinical Nurse Leader track will be the first in the state offered totally online.
In structuring the Emergency Management degree requirements, which will also be an online program, Lander worked with the S.C. National Guard to ensure that the curriculum complements the emergency response training that guardsmen receive. The university also sought recommendations from the state Emergency Management Department and other government agencies and industry leaders.
Dr. Charles Stowe, a professor in Lander's School of Management, who proposed and will manage the program, said it will cover all aspects of emergency management related to natural and man-made disasters. "The development of educated and trained emergency management leadership in public and private sectors is extremely important to public safety and the security of the state's economic infrastructure."
He noted that more than half of South Carolina's population is located in areas that are subject to hurricanes and potential earthquake fault lines.
Stowe added that private sector businesses and nonprofits pay more than 80 percent of the cost of disaster prevention and recovery. "Lander's program will prepare those who are already employed by business and government emergency management agencies, as well as volunteers, for greater responsibilities."
Dr. Meredith Uttley, chair of Lander's Political and Social Sciences Department, which will host the program, said applicants must have an undergraduate degree such as criminal justice, engineering, business administration, psychology or health care, and have experience as volunteers or employees in some aspect of emergency planning.
The new master's in Lander's William Preston Turner School of Nursing is designed to prepare nurse generalists as clinical leaders in various health care settings. Local nursing leaders, registered nurses and chief nursing officers identified a need for graduate-level clinical nurse leaders when they participated in a focus group and responded to a survey.
Nursing school Director Dr. Robbie South said, "Nurses who complete the program will qualify for leadership positions in clinical settings, making them accountable for helping to improve patient outcomes." She added, "We are very excited about the new program. It's a vision we have had for several years."
Offering the degree online will give nurses flexibility to coordinate their graduate studies with their work schedules. It also offers the potential of attracting students from other states.
South said the school is negotiating affiliation agreements to enable students to complete the program's clinical requirements closer to home.
Lander has offered nursing education for over 55 years and graduates students twice a year, but the Clinical Nurse Leader program, which will soon begin accepting students for the spring of 2014, is the school's first nursing master's program. To be considered for admission, candidates must have a four-year nursing degree, a year of clinical experience and meet other requirements.
Lander president Dr. Daniel Ball said the addition of the new master's programs reflects the university's top strategic goal of increasing opportunities for student learning and preparing them for new or advanced careers.
He added, "The Emergency Management and Clinical Nurse Leader graduate degrees demonstrate the university's commitment to anticipating and creating educational opportunities that provide students with the knowledge they need to qualify for jobs in existing and emerging markets."
Lander offers three other graduate degrees: Master of Art in Teaching in art education; Master of Education in Montessori education and Master of Education in Teaching and Learning with a variety of concentrations.