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Thomas Edison Goes Live with Online Database of Minority Nurse Educators

Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ has launched a publicly available database online that provides a search function to identify minority nurse educators who have been certified in online teaching. The database was developed specifically to help students find employment and to help institutions increase diversity within their adjunct faculty.

Currently, the resource contains data on 52 experienced nurse educators who have completed the School of Nursing's online Minority Nurse Educator certification program. The program includes a 20-week Certificate in Distance Education Program (CDEP) and a 12-week mentored online teaching experience under the guidance of an experienced online nurse educator.

"Many nursing schools throughout the country have worked successfully to increase the diversity of their student populations, but there remains a shortage of minority nursing faculty to serve as role models for students," said Susan O'Brien, dean of the school. "We hope nursing school deans and other administrators find this new database useful in increasing diversity at their institutions and, ultimately, enabling more students to benefit from more culturally diverse educators, which will enhance their overall education and improve the care they provide to society."

According to a 2005 study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), minority representation among nursing faculty in the United States is at approximately 9 percent. The database includes ethnicities such as African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander. Educators in the database have agreed to participate.

The creation of the database is the final requirement of a 2005 grant the School of Nursing received from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to recruit and prepare minority nurse educators in online education and develop a collaborative network of diverse nurse faculty members to enhance nursing programs nationwide. The grant initially called for the college to recruit 45 minority nurse educators during a three-year period and teach them online pedagogical skills. The school recruited and prepared a total of 52 nurse educators in its first three years.

In 2008, HRSA renewed the grant to the School of Nursing to expand the minority nurse educator program. Each year new educators will be added to the database as they complete the program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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