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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Title:College of Nursing Records
Call Number:A18

Historical Note

In 1959, the directors of six major Boston nursing schools formed the Nurses Group of the Professional Subcommittee of the Harvard Hospital Planning Committee to study the state of nursing education in Boston and make recommendations towards its improvement. One of the main proposals the group made was to found a new school of nursing under the direction of a local college or university. Due to size and location, Northeastern and Boston Universities were the top choices. In 1962, Northeastern presented a plan for a five year co-operative nursing program following the guidelines established by the Nurses Group and modeled on the program at the Rutgers University School of Nursing. In late 1962, the Nurses Group decided to accept the Northeastern program and, in 1963, the NU's Board of Trustees approved the new collaborative program between Northeastern and two local hospitals, Beth Israel and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The College of Nursing opened in 1964 with two programs: a three-year cooperative associate degree program, and a five year cooperative bachelor degree program.  The College worked in cooperation with Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel, which were later joined by Children's Medical Center; each of these hospitals donated $10,000 to the new program at Northeastern.  Groundbreaking for a building to house the new college occurred in March 1965, and with Federal funding, it was completed by the spring of the following year. Mary Gass Robinson Hall was dedicated on 7 April 1966.

The first dean, Dr. Charlotte Voss faced her first challenge in securing accreditation for the College from the National League for Nursing.  The College applied for accreditation of its bachelor's program in 1964, but the College was not approved.  The associate's degree program was also denied accreditation in March 1965 by the League, citing the College's small number of faculty (six) and claiming that the College allowed too much credit for its courses.  The League also expressed reservations about the cooperative aspect of the College. After much work on the part of the College and several League site visits, the College of Nursing's associate degree program was accredited in 1968, and the bachelor's program received accreditation in 1972.

In June 1967, the College graduated its first associate degree class of 62 students.  Within this program, the College's attention was drawn to the demand for continuing education opportunities. As a result, the College of Nursing established a Licensed Practical Nurse-Associate Degree Program in 1969 with federal funding from a three-year training grant entitled, "Credit Allotment for Licensed Practical Nurses Who Transfer into an Associate Degree Program."  While the program was the brainchild of Professor Goldie Crocker, Professor Mary Kane became the project director after Crocker left Northeastern.

Dr. Voss resigned as dean of the college in the spring of 1968, and Juanita Long was appointed dean in 1969.  Under her leadership several new programs were implemented. In 1972, the pediatric nurse practitioner program from Massachusetts General Hospital's Bunker Hill Health Center was brought to the College in collaboration with University College. This program was largely self-supporting with the assistance of three federal grants.  The first was awarded for the period 1972-1975; the second, "A Four Track Educational System for Nurse Associates" granted from 1975-1979; and the third, "An Expanded Three-Track Nurse Practitioner Program" funded the program from 1979-1982.

The College continued to work on continuing education programs and address the concerns of its students about career mobility. In 1974, answering the calls of associate degree graduates, faculty, and the community, the College established a program for registered nurses to earn a bachelor's degree.  This program was headed by Professor Nancy Walden. In the same year, the College began exploring the possibility of modifying its plan of study and was chosen by the National League for Nursing as a pilot school, the only one on the East Coast, for an open curriculum.

Within the field of nursing, professionals were emphasizing training at the baccalaureate level over the associate degree option.  As a result, the College phased out its associate degree program in 1979, with the last associate's class graduating in 1981.  The Nurse Practitioner Program was also terminated in 1982 because Federal funding ran out and the College was considering offering graduate level training. In 1986, a Graduate Curriculum Advisory Committee was established at Northeastern and began work on graduate programs in critical care and nursing administration. At the same time, Boston University decided to discontinue its graduate nursing program and proposed that Northeastern transfer the program to its College of Nursing.  The transfer was approved in the fall of 1988, and the new Northeastern University College of Nursing Graduate Program began in January of 1989. The program started with four fields transferred from the Boston University graduate school: acute care, primary care, community health, psychology and mental health nursing. The graduate program quickly became popular and other fields of study were added during the 1990s, including programs in anesthesiology, an RN/MS program, and a dual degree in nursing and business administration. In the 2000s, the graduate programs grew to include PhD and Certificate of Advanced Study options.

After twenty years of leading the College, Dean Long retired in 1989 and, as the College celebrated its 25th Anniversary, Dr. Eileen Zungolo took the position as dean. In 1992, the College began the first regional graduate-level neonatal nursing program. In the mid-1990s, the College began to offer summer institutes for faculty development in nursing education, bringing faculty from other states to Boston for instruction and practical experience. In 1995, the College began a three-year initiative to recruit economically and educationally disadvantaged Boston high school students into the undergraduate program, offering tutoring, counseling, and mentoring services to ten entering students per year. In 1997, the College of Nursing merged with the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and became the School of Nursing.
1964-1968Dr. Charlotte Voss
1969-1989Juanita O. Long
1989-1997Dr. Eileen Zungolo

Long, Juanita O.  "Yesterday and Today."  Speech given on the occasion of the College of Nursing's Tenth Anniversary, 1974.  (A18, Box 18, Folder 512)

Frederick, Antoinette.  Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant, 1959-1975.  Boston: Northeastern University Custom Book Program, 1982.  CALL NUMBER: LD4011.N22F7X

— Northeastern University: Coming of Age: The Ryder Years, 1975-1989.  Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995.  CALL NUMBER: LD4011.N22F732 1995

Feldscher, Karen. Northeastern University, 1989-1996 The Curry Years: Smaller but Better. Boston: Northeastern University Publications, 2000. CALL NUMBER: LD4011.N22F45 2000