By Jack Jeffery
Ohio University-Chillicothe and Berger Health System have partnered with Ohio Christian University to provide opportunities for Ohio Christian students to earn two degrees simultaneously: one in nursing and another in intercultural ministries.
In 2003, the Chillicothe campus, Berger and Circleville City Schools initiated a collaborative nursing program in which nursing courses and clinical experiences are offered at Berger's Circleville facility. The recent partnership with Ohio Christian, a private institution of about 450 students in Circleville, will result in 10 new openings in the program for its students.
The joint program will allow those students to graduate with an associate's degree in nursing from Ohio University-Chillicothe and a bachelor's degree in intercultural ministries from Ohio Christian.
"This is the way communities should be served, public and private partnerships working together for the common good of the residents," said Mark Smith, president of Ohio Christian University.
Ohio Christian University students can begin taking courses in the program during winter quarter 2009 and will continue for six quarters, through fall 2010.
"We view this latest approach as yet another excellent example of partnering for the good of Ohio," said Berger Health System President Larry Thornhill. "The more collaborative individual institutions can become, the greater the opportunity to achieve goals which in the past were unachievable as single entities."
The partnership also supports the spirit of the University System of Ohio strategic plan for higher education, which encourages universities to look for innovative ways to make educational opportunities more widely available through collaborations involving multiple institutions.
"Berger Health System, Ohio Christian University and Ohio University-Chillicothe have distinct missions and unique perspectives, but all share the same objective of making a positive impact in the region," said Richard Bebee, dean of the Chillicothe campus. "By combining the resources and expertise of three organizations, we are able to offer educational offerings that fit the interests and career objectives of students and prepare them for careers in the growing health-care profession."