Fresno State announced Wednesday that its Master of Science in Nursing has lost its accreditation, a first for the degree program since it was established in 1968. It’s also the university’s first program to ever lose its accreditation, and it follows less than a year after the nursing school learned that one of its certificate programs had never been accredited in the first place.
The decision, which came from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, apparently had little to do with program quality, but instead with a lack of documentation on how the program evaluates student outcomes, faculty performance, and overall program goals.
“The decision by the accrediting body was a surprise to us,” says Jody Hironaka-Juteau, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “This first loss of accreditation is one that we feel is an isolated incident, and we’re learning from it and we’re committed to continuing to improve.”
Though the decision does not affect any of the program’s 1,500 former graduates, it does leave the two dozen students who just finished the first of the program’s two years in limbo. The program will not accept new students in the fall but Hironaka-Juteau says classes will continue as usual for currently enrolled students, in the hopes of a successful review and site visit in the fall from the accrediting agency. “Provided that things go as planned and we are reaccredited, the 23 that are currently in the program come May when they complete the program will have graduated from an accredited program,” says Hironaka-Juteau.
She says program administrators have been in touch with current students, and that they understand if personal circumstances result in students leaving the program.
Last fall, the university learned that a different nursing program, which offers a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate, had unknowingly operated without accreditation for years. That program will be reviewed in the same fall site visit as the master’s program.
The nursing school’s other programs, including a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in nursing, remain accredited.