Fairleigh Dickinson University Receives $2.5 Million Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Grant Will Support a Collaborative Effort Led by Fairleigh Dickinson to Stem New Jersey Nurse Faculty Shortage

Teaneck, NJ (June 4, 2009) — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has awarded Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) and two other New Jersey private colleges a four-year, $2.5 million grant to train future nursing faculty members.  The grant is part of RWJF’s $22 million, five-year “New Jersey Nursing Initiative,” which will increase the number of nurse faculty available to educate the next generation of nurses in the state.

The Initiative’s central component is a Faculty Preparation Program that includes grants to schools of nursing around the state, and support for 46 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Nursing Scholars.  The scholars will study to become faculty and commit to teach in the state for three years after they complete their studies.  FDU will be the lead institution in a three-way collaborative effort as part of the Faculty Preparation Program.  The collaborative includes Monmouth University and Bloomfield College.  Four other nursing schools or collaboratives received similar grants in New Jersey.

“We are extremely proud to be among the select institutions honored with these prestigious grants," said Fairleigh Dickinson University President J. Michael Adams. "This award is a reflection of the strong quality and distinguished status of FDU's Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health. With our talented faculty, outstanding programs and impressive track record, we are well positioned to contribute to this important initiative."

Minerva Guttman, director of FDU’s Becton School and professor of nursing, said that Fairleigh Dickinson and other nursing schools often have more qualified applicants than they can accommodate, simply because there aren’t enough master’s and doctorally prepared nurses to teach them.

“This grant will help us expand the supply of younger nursing faculty who can, over time, prepare the growing number of nurses our state and country will need in the coming years,” she said.

The RWJF grant project director at FDU will be Elizabeth Parietti, associate professor of nursing and associate director of graduate nursing programs.

Fourteen RWJF Scholars will take courses at Monmouth University (MU) and FDU’s Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health, which both have master’s level nurse practitioner and nursing education courses. FDU also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Bloomfield College, which has a traditional BSN and an RN-BSN program, will serve as a feeder school to FDU and MU.

The RWJF Scholars will receive a $50,000 annual stipend, enabling them to study full time for the two years needed to earn their MSN degrees, in exchange for a commitment to teach in the state for three years after they complete their studies. The grant will also pay for scholars’ tuition, fees, laptops, books, PDAs and other direct costs of the program.

The RWJF grant is the largest foundation grant ever made to Fairleigh Dickinson’s Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health. In addition to training future nursing faculty members using an innovative curriculum, the project will promote a collaborative partnership among the three institutions and provide a mentoring program for the scholars.

“Combining the faculty expertise and resources of the three institutions will reduce costs while attracting students from northern New Jersey to central New Jersey,” Dr. Guttman said.

Another goal of the grant is to increase the number of nursing faculty members from minority groups; at least five of the RWJF Scholars will be minority students.

“Currently, just over half of nursing students at Fairleigh Dickinson are minorities, and our faculty—and faculty at other schools of nursing—should reflect that diversity as well,” Dr. Guttman said.

In addition to supporting the RWJF New Jersey Nursing Scholars, the Faculty Preparation Program is working to develop, implement and evaluate new curricula for students at the masters and doctoral levels.  The “New Jersey Nursing Initiative” is also working to: create innovative approaches to increase faculty capacity; make New Jersey nurse faculty a preferred career; lead focused policy initiatives; increase sustainable funding; build local, regional and statewide collaboration; and develop creative strategies to increase nurse education capacity.

More information about the “New Jersey Nursing Initiative” and nursing in New Jersey is available at www.njni.org.

About the School of Nursing at FDU

The Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health was established in 1952. The school’s goal is to enhance society and the health-care environment through preparation of graduates with a foundation in liberal arts and sciences as well as the professional domain. The Becton School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, nursing’s top accreditation rating.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, we work with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years we’ve brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, we expect to make a difference in your lifetime.

For Immediate Release

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