Expanded degree program may ease nursing shortfall

Expanded degree program may ease nursing shortfall

Nursing students Roxanne Masserat and Gilma Santamaria check the breathing of a technologically advanced mannequin.Students Maika Tugnao, John Orial and Gilma Santamaria team up to work on a patient in the mock emergency room during class.Nursing faculty Ming Fang Wang works with students in the simulated lab.Nursing students Maika Tugnao and John Orial get help from nursing professor Mary Ann Shinnick.

Cal State L.A. has been selected by the California State University Board of Trustees to begin planning for a joint Doctor of Nursing Practice pilot program to launch as early as fall 2012.

The addition of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program will enable Cal State L.A. and its partnering universities, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach, to start addressing California’s pressing need for nurses and nursing faculty. A key challenge in addressing the state’s shortfall in nursing has been the limited number of slots available for students in programs, which is directly tied to a limited number of individuals qualified to serve as nursing faculty, industry leaders say.

“Cal State L.A. has many qualities that will contribute to the richness of a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. We have a long history in graduate education and advanced practice, and subsequently have accumulated knowledge and experience in this area,” said Cynthia Hughes, director of CSULA’s School of Nursing. “We have a wonderfully diverse and motivated student body from which to draw and ultimately contribute to enriching the diversity of professional nursing at the advanced practice level.”

Cal State L.A. is one of many campuses in the California State University system that is responsible for awarding 60 percent of the bachelor’s level nursing degrees and many master’s degrees in the state. The CSU was restricted from offering the tertiary level degree until recently, however, when the state adopted AB 867 (2010).

“We bring to the table an extensive network of established clinical and educational resources, and a significant number of successful alumni who are widely respected in the community and would support this endeavor fully,” Hughes said.


Students ‘battle brains,’ the clock in collegiate competition

CSULA team members Yin Yin Chen, Alberto Gutierrez and Rafael Sanchez.

Computer science students Yin Yin Chen, Alberto Gutierrez and Rafael Sanchez made up one of three CSULA teams in a “Battle of the Brains” computing competition. This group placed 36th out of 72 teams.

Equipped with their programming skills and mental endurance, three teams of Cal State L.A’s computer science students took on the challenge of solving eight complex computer problems within a grueling five-hour limit last fall.

The test of reasoning and computing skills was part of the 35th Annual Association for Computing Machinery’s “Battle of the Brains” competition. Two of Cal State L.A.’s teams finished 16th and 36th overall—ranking them among the top 12 percent and 50 percent of the region—in a competition that drew 72 teams from roughly two dozen universities. A third CSULA team received honorable mention.

“Congratulations to our students for this impressive feat to go head-to-head with [some of] the best collegiate programmers in Southern California regional schools,” said Computer Science Professor Raj Pamula, who also coached the teams. “This is the most prestigious computer programming competition of its kind.”

Problems in the competition cover a wide range of application areas, including business data processing, engineering, text handling and process optimization, among other areas, Pamula explained.

“The competition itself was an intense five-hour ‘programmathon,’ the most intense single programming session with a race against the clock,” said student Rafael Sanchez, who was on a team that placed 36th. “The programming problems were hard, but the time constraint made it nightmarish.”

Also participating in the competitions were students Sanmit Narvekar and Alfonso Ortega, who took 16th place; Sanchez’s teammates Yin Yin Chen and Alberto Gutierrez; and Michael Hsu and Mark Buising.


EPIC rallies to support others in need

A student volunteer sorts through toys during the EPIC Toy and Food Drive.

CSULA student volunteer Kenya Alba sorts out toys into age appropriate boxes during the EPIC Toy and Food Drive.

Cal State L.A. students, faculty and staff joined together last year to help 65 needy families through its annual Educational Participation in Communities (EPIC) Toy and Food Drive.

Collections from the campus community throughout the holiday season resulted in gift boxes for 109 adults and 205 children in the cities of Commerce, El Monte and Los Angeles.

“The EPIC office would like o thank the entire Cal State L.A. campus for their donations, help and support,” EPIC Community Service Learning Coordinator Ann Hong said. “We especially wouldn’t have been successful without the help of our student volunteers.”

More than 80 Cal State L.A. students volunteered. (Did you participate in EPIC when you were on campus? Tell us your story online at www.facebook.com/csulaTODAY)

The EPIC program at Cal State L.A. promotes community service learning by creating opportunities for University students to implement classroom theory in real-life situations. For more than 40 years, EPIC has placed students in a wide range of agencies serving communities throughout the Los Angeles area.


Governor’s budget calls for deep cuts

Facing an estimated $28 billion budget deficit, Governor Jerry Brown released in January a 2011-12 state budget proposal that calls for a $500 million reduction in state support for the California State University (CSU).

The proposed $2.2 billion in state support for the CSU is equivalent to 1999-2000 funding levels, even though the university system currently serves nearly 70,000 more students.

“While we understand the administration has limited options, higher education is the state’s main economic driver, and we cannot improve our economy without an educated workforce,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed in a released statement. “The magnitude of the budget reductions in one year will have serious impacts on the state’s economy, limit access for students seeking entrance into our universities, and restrict classes and service for our current students.”

The proposed $500 million reduction in state support for the CSU is also a “best case” scenario, assuming a voter-approved extension of temporary tax increases due to expire at the end of the fiscal year.

Stay up-to-date with the budget online at CSU Budget Central.