HCC ADN Nursing program will 'come back stronger,' chancellor says

Feb 29, 2024

When officials at Houston Community College (HCC) saw a decline for the third consecutive year in the National Council Licensure Examination pass rate of its Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) students, they thoughtfully decided to voluntarily close the program. The goal: Strengthen curriculum alignment, ease transition into offerings of academic courses and ensure student success.

“After careful examination, we wrote the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) and asked to close our program,” said Dr. Norma Perez, Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Instructional Services and Chief Academic Officer and Administrator in Charge at HCC Coleman College. “We strongly believe that a voluntary closure will allow HCC a reasonable time to effectively strengthen our ADN program with the intent of reopening it in 2025,” she said.

HCC’s ADN program is located in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center (TMC). It is uniquely positioned to provide students the opportunity for advancement in more than 20 of the fastest-growing careers in the health sciences. Graduates of the ADN program are sought after by hospitals and clinics in the TMC and across the region.

Stopping the program at a time when professional nurses are in demand was a tough decision.

“HCC’s ADN program has been committed to high-quality nursing education since the program opened 45 years ago,” Dr. Perez noted. “Voluntarily closing the program, while difficult, reflects our adherence to the highest nursing education standards.”

Colleges that voluntarily close their programs can apply with the TBON to reopen them the following year. HCC is already taking affirmative steps to reopen its program in 2025. The college is also continuing to provide instruction to 76 remaining students who are on track to graduate from the ADN program in 2024.

“We are conducting a comprehensive self-assessment,” said HCC Chancellor Margaret Ford Fisher, Ed.D. “We are examining our curriculum and admission policies. We are talking to hospitals and healthcare organizations to make sure our program meets the needs of healthcare providers in the TMC and across the region. We are also identifying opportunities to incorporate the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence, which is being integrated into the healthcare sector.”

Dr. Perez will temporarily serve as the Interim Administrator in Charge of HCC Coleman College. She has a proven track record of leadership as a community college academic executive. Her prior work includes 15 years of service as Assistant Dean and Dean of Health Sciences at HCC Coleman College.

To focus on long-term goals, Dr. Ford Fisher brought HCC Coleman President Phillip Nicotera, M.D., M.S.Ed., to serve as Special Assistant to the Chancellor. Dr. Nicotera will in part support healthcare program growth, expansion and development for the college district.

“Our goal is to come back stronger,” the chancellor said. “These changes will strengthen HCC’s ability to grow our healthcare programs and connect with healthcare organizations both locally and across the region. They demonstrate our commitment to excellence and reassures the community that we are actively engaged in promoting the success of the institution and those whom we serve.”

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