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Lander's Nursing Program Receives Accreditation and New Leadership

Robbie SouthDr. Robbie South has been appointed chair of Lander University's William Preston Turner Department of Nursing, succeeding Bernice Daugherty who held the position for more than three years. Daugherty has returned to the classroom full time to continue teaching enhanced physical assessment and other subjects. She was also appointed director of the online R.N. to B.S.N. completion option, which South had directed since 2007.

Daugherty, an associate professor of nursing and a faculty member for 15 years, has a nursing degree from Arizona State University, a master's from the University of Kansas and an advanced degree as a family nurse practitioner from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind. She said serving as department chair was rewarding and challenging and gave her opportunities to interact with people in the community and nursing deans and directors across the state.

South is also an associate professor of nursing. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from the University of South Carolina. In May the Clinton native received a doctorate in health education from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Mo., after completing a three-year online program. Since coming to Lander in 2003, she has taught a wide range of nursing courses, including community health, her specialty.

South is excited about her new job as chair and said, "I have always enjoyed management and supervisory roles."

In May, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791, awarded Lander's nursing program accreditation. Before now the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission accredited the program.

Daugherty, department chair during the reaccreditation process, said Lander and other nursing programs in the state have switched to CCNE because it accredits only four-year schools, such as Lander, and those that award advanced degrees.

The first step was an exhaustive program review and self-study report explaining how Lander meets standards of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. South and Leisa Igleheart supervised the nursing faculty's contributions to the review, which took 18 months. Dr. Barbara Freese, former dean, retired nursing faculty member and now a Lander docent, consolidated the data into the final report.

Another important part of the accreditation process was the accrediting team's visit to Lander where they reviewed documents, observed classes and conducted interviews on campus and in the community.

Daugherty said preparing for accreditation is a positive exercise. "It requires you to examine the program in detail, look for places where it could be improved or fine-tuned, and create an action plan."