Continuous Nursing Program Selected as Legacy Award Finalist Winner

by Diane VanDyke

Pictured (from left to right): Dr. Maria Henninger Toth, Director of Nursing; Dr. Beverly L. Welhan, Dean of Health Sciences; and Dr. LeRoy W. Mitchell, Chair of the Executive Committee, The Association of Community College Trustees.

Montgomery County Community College’s Continuous Nursing Program was one of 10 finalist winners from across the country selected for the first Community College Futures Assembly (CCFA) Legacy Award this year.

The Legacy Award is sponsored by the Association of Community Colleges Trustees—a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, CCFA issued a call for Legacy Award nominations in the fall of 2013, and 10 finalist winners, including MCCC, were selected. According to CCFA’s website, the call for nominations was extended to more than 500 community college programs and 60 postsecondary institutions and 30 Legacy applications were submitted. The application criteria restricted consideration to only former Bellwether finalist programs that could illustrate five years of program effectiveness and success.

“It is an honor for Montgomery County Community College and our Nursing Program to be selected as one of the 10 finalist winners in the country,” said Dr. Beverly L. Welhan, Dean of Health Sciences at MCCC. “While it is wonderful to receive national recognition for our Continuous Nursing Program, we are equally pleased to see how this program, since its inception, has helped 481 students successfully complete their education and launch their professional nursing careers.”

In 2008, MCCC’s Continuous Nursing Program (CNP) was a finalist for the esteemed Bellwether Award. CCFA’s annual Bellwether Award recognizes “outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future.”

The College’s CNP model was implemented in the summer of 2004 and was an innovative approach to addressing both the healthcare sector’s shortage of nurses and the growing waitlist of more than 1,500 pre-nursing students seeking admission in the College’s Associate Degree Nursing Program. With CNP, the Nursing Program was converted to a tri-semester schedule by adding a 14-week summer semester to the existing fall and spring semesters. This expansion allowed students three separate points of admission (summer, fall, spring) and enabled the Nursing Program to be offered on a continuous year-round basis, comprised of 16 months of continuous study (instead of the traditional 21 months). CNP therefore provides students a more expeditious means to complete the Nursing Program and enter into professional practice and the healthcare workforce. Approximately 96 percent of students enrolled in the Nursing Program select CNP as opposed to the traditional 21-month academic year model.

MCCC’s Nursing Program holds the highest level of accreditation proffered by the specialized Accreditation Commission for Education Nursing (ACEN). Further, it has a reputation in the community for excellence as demonstrated by an outstanding level of graduate success on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) licensing examination and as evaluated by students, graduates and healthcare employers.

Last year, MCCC’s Nursing Program was awarded the “2013 Health Care Champion” by the Pottstown Visiting Nurse Association for its community outreach and involvement, including its annual Community Day Wellness and the Healthy Lifestyles expos, as well as other volunteer activities done throughout the year by nursing students.

For more information about Montgomery County Community College’s Nursing Program, visit

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