King to shut down Nashville site, suspend traditional BSN admissions

Rick Wagner • Oct 30, 2016 at 2:00 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — King University is permanently closing its Nashville campus and temporarily suspending admissions to its traditional bachelor’s of science in nursing program.

The Bristol-based private school, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, is making what a news release Thursday called “organizational and program changes resulting from an ongoing review process that has spanned several months.” King’s Board of Trustees approved the changes at its fall meeting last week.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the school will temporarily suspend admissions to the BSN program. In addition, King plans to close its Nashville location in 2017, although the exact timing will depend on specific arrangements with students to ensure completion of their academic programs.

The traditional BSN program has been the focus of an internal assessment directed by King’s president in August to evaluate all aspects of the program, including curriculum, staffing and support resources.

“Since 2000, King University’s School of Nursing has been known for quality, as evidenced by the significant number of nursing students who are recruited for key positions prior to graduation,” the release said.

“King University’s commitment to its students includes ongoing program evaluations, and our declining first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses, as well as our own preliminary findings, suggest room for improvement in our traditional BSN program curriculum and instruction,” King President Alexander Whitaker said in the release.

“King University is committed to our current and future students, and we owe it to them, as well as to our alumni, to ensure the program reflects the excellence that is expected from all of King’s academic offerings,” Whitaker said. “We have put in place corrective measures to address the problems we have identified and are confident they will be effective.”

Students currently enrolled in the traditional BSN program and other nursing programs will not be affected by the decision. They may continue to pursue their degrees under existing curriculum requirements.

In addition, BSN graduates will remain eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). All King nursing programs remain fully accredited.

The board also accepted Whitaker’s recommendation to close King’s Nashville-area campus in Franklin. The campus, which opened in 2014, offers baccalaureate- and master’s-level programs through King’s Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) program, which is specifically designed for adult learners.

“Our campus in the Nashville area has provided increased educational opportunities for residents there, giving them another choice when seeking a quality program for their return to school,” Whitaker said. “But the realities of that market and the costs associated with the campus compel us to refocus our energies where King has its traditional, time-tested strengths. The closure will enable us to reallocate resources to better fulfill our mission.

“This includes making much-needed enhancements at our flagship campus in Bristol and improving programs to better prepare King graduates for success in their chosen professions.”

King staff will work with affected students at the Nashville campus to develop what the release called “a personalized plan to help make their transition to alternative programs as seamless as possible.”