College of Arts and Sciences

Nursing program received state licensing approval

March 11, 2009

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the National Council of State Board of Nursing have granted final approval to Western Illinois University to begin offering its four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree beginning Fall 2009.

The new 125-semester hour BSN degree is designed for individuals who wish to become registered nurses and obtain a bachelor's degree. Western's BSN program will allow students to begin their education at WIU as a freshman in the pre-BSN option, complete two years of general education and nursing support courses, and apply for admission into the School of Nursing. The program was granted approval by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) in October 2008. Following IBHE's approval, WIU School of Nursing Director Lea Monahan began working with the IDFPR to obtain permission to provide the program at WIU.

"A lot of hard work and support from President Al Goldfarb, Dean Levi and Provost Thomas has made this program a reality. I'm excited that Western will now provide a pre-licensure program for students seeking bachelors nursing education," Monahan said. "We are accepting applications from those students who have completed the general education curriculum and the nursing support courses or are in the second semester of their sophomore year."

One year prior to Western receiving IBHE approval for the four-year program, the IBHE approved WIU's Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN-BSN completion degree program, which allows associate degree and diploma nurses to develop skills for a higher level of nursing practice. The RN-BSN completion program began in Fall 2008.

"The nursing programs offered at Western Illinois University fulfills our institution's goal to positively impact our region by meeting the educational needs of our communities," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa Levi. "The new degree program beginning this fall complements the RN-BSN program, and helps to fill a nationwide demand for nursing professionals."

According to Monahan, the nursing degree programs complement six health-related degree programs currently offered at WIU: undergraduate and graduate biological sciences programs and communication sciences and disorders programs; and the bachelor's degree programs in health services management and clinical laboratory science.

"We are pleased to offer the new degree program in nursing," said Goldfarb. "This program further enhances our University's commitment to our Higher Values in Higher Education Strategic Plan and further supports the University's core values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility."

Monahan noted that several organizations were involved with the original RN-BSN completion program proposal, including officials from McDonough District Hospital, Carl Sandburg College, Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing, Spoon River College, Graham Hospital School of Nursing and John Wood Community College.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accreditation visit is scheduled for February 2010.

Editor's Note: You can see a video of the press conference on YouTube at

Copy By: Darcie Shinberger, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606