Kennesaw State nursing faculty gets boost from Board of Regents

Prillaman Hall

WellStar School of Nursing receives $126,000 in grants  KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 6, 2012) —…

Georgia (Sep 6, 2012)WellStar School of Nursing receives $126,000 in grants

 KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 6, 2012) —Nursing faculty at Kennesaw State University recently received a $126,000 boost from the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents to either pursue a research doctorate or begin a research program.

One of the two nursing faculty initiative grants ($90,000) is aimed at increasing the number of nursing faculty and promoting faculty retention in the University System of Georgia, while the second ($36,000) will provide seed money for faculty research.

“Most of the money will be used to fund doctoral students who already teach in the University System of Georgia,” explained Tommie Nelms, interim director of the WellStar School of Nursing. “This money goes to existing faculty so they can be fulltime students.  One individual – over  a two-year period – can get $40,000.”

The second grant gives new faculty members $10,000 each to begin a research program.

“New faculty know that within six years they have to get tenured, so they need to get on a quick trajectory of producing scholarship,” Nelms said. “This way, they’ll be given the money to do pilot studies that will hopefully, eventually, lead to bigger funding so they can develop a program of research leading to tenure and promotion.”

The University System of Georgia typically produces roughly 80 percent of the nurses taking the state licensing exam in any given year, according to Ben Robinson, director of the BOR Center for Health Care Work Force, putting the USG in a unique position when it comes to relieving the state’s shortages of nurses and nursing faculty. The WellStar School of Nursing is the largest producer of baccalaureate nursing graduates in the state.

“The size of our nursing education system is so large, resolution of nursing issues is up to us,” Robinson said. “We carry the lion’s share of the burden to help alleviate these problems. We need to put enough faculty out there, so schools aren’t robbing each other of faculty. Without more faculty, we can’t graduate more nurses.”

Compounding the shortage of nursing faculty is an aging nursing faculty work force, according to Robinson.

“Forty percent of nursing faculty in the USG system is 55 years old or older as of 2007,” Robinson said. “The concern was we could potentially lose 40 percent of our nursing faculty in a very short period of time, and that, of course, would be catastrophic.”

Robinson said the BOR funded 17 of 44 grant applications from across the system.

“It was a very selective process,” he said. “Kennesaw has a very strong program. The Doctorate in Nursing Science meets a unique set of needs, and we’re comfortable these students are going to become faculty.” 

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,100 students from more than 130 countries.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit