River Valley Community College (RVCC) has received notice that its Associate Degree Nursing Program (RN) voluntary accreditation with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) was denied, effective August 1, 2013. The program continues to be approved by the NH Board of Nursing, and the college intends to take the steps necessary to regain its ACEN accreditation, which it has held since 1990. “Accreditation by the ACEN is not required, but we feel it is worth having and we will work to regain it in the upcoming months,” said Dr. Susan Henderson, Vice President of Academic Affairs (Interim).
The suspension of the ACEN accreditation is due to insufficient documentation and/or articulation of two of ACEN’s six accreditation standards: documenting the alignment of curriculum and instructional processes; and documenting that student outcomes are measurable and specific for each component of the academic plan. “The decision does not reflect deficiencies in instruction or student performance,” emphasized Henderson. “The rigor of the program and the quality of our graduates is evidenced by our record of pass rates on the nursing license exam that are consistent with other programs in New Hampshire, and by the successful employment experiences of our graduates, who hold positions in hospitals, schools, medical offices, and business and industry in the Upper Valley and across the Granite State and New England,” said Henderson.
River Valley has been educating and training practical and registered nurses for over 45 years. The college launched its Practical Nursing program in 1968 and established its Registered Nursing program in 1981.
Current and entering RVCC Associate Degree Nursing students who take classes at the main campus in Claremont and the college’s Academic Center in Keene will remain eligible to take examinations for state licensure, and any River Valley nursing graduate who chooses to pursue a bachelor of science and/or master’s degree in nursing may do so without impediment.
College leaders and nursing program administrators will meet with new and associate degree nursing students in the coming weeks to review the actions to date and explain next steps. “Our goal is to maintain academic integrity and to meet the expectations of our students,” Henderson said. “We are working with partner institutions with whom we have transfer and dual enrollment relationships so that our students can seamlessly obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a nationally accredited program if that is their desired goal.”
Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith, the new president of RVCC said, “Both River Valley and Community College System of New Hampshire are committed to dedicating the resources necessary for the college’s nursing program to transition back into ACEN accreditation status as soon as possible.”