JRMC may host SEARK nursing program

Southeast Arkansas College and Jefferson Regional Medical Center may be combining forces for an associate of applied science nursery degree program that would feature classes on the JRMC campus with Jefferson School of Nursing instructors.

SEARK’s Board of Trustees was advised of the development at a Wednesday meeting in the college’s McGeorge Building. The panel voiced no objections to JRMC’s request for SEARK’s signing of a memorandum of understanding on the proposed alignment.

Trustee Rebecca Pattillo, JRMC’s marketing director, said some additional steps — primarily the obtaining of Arkansas Department of Higher Education approval — are necessary before the partnership is fully enacted.

Meanwhile, the board got a second dose of good news with an announcement that SEARK has earned its first online degree endorsement by ADHE. The online associate of arts degree program in general education will now give graduates a primary transfer degree to four-year institutions.

SEARK President Steve Hilterbran said the online course offerings could be expanded as they provide a cost-effective tool in the college’s efforts to increase enrollment while keeping operating expenses down.

In other business, the board approved:

• Some 308 candidates for fall graduation on Dec. 13;

• An updated staff and faculty handbook with an understanding that the guide can be altered as necessary by board agreement; and

• Holiday period campus-closing dates of Nov. 27-29 for Thanksgiving and Dec. 23-Jan. 1 for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The board heard a construction update on a new administration building that is expected to be ready for occupancy in time for the panel’s March 2014 meeting.