Graceland University is a small not-for-profit university that was incorporated as Graceland College in 1895. Although sponsored by the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), it has from its inception been non-sectarian. The Graceland campus is located in southern rural Iowa, but Graceland has students from across the country and around the world, both on its main campus in Iowa and in its distance education programs. It was one of the first two universities to offer a nursing degree completion program to registered nurses (RNs) through distance education. Graceland now offers graduate degrees in nursing, education and Christian Ministries.
Graceland University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The teacher education program has been approved by the Iowa Department of Education and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The nursing programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, Inc. (NLNAC), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and by the Missouri State Board of Nursing and the Iowa Board of Nursing. These academic standards ensure that a degree from Graceland University will be recognized by educational, business, and professional communities.
Graceland's distance education degree programs include:
- Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies - This degree completion program is delivered via correspondence. All coursework is self-paced and must be completed within six months of being started. This is a non-term program.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing - This degree completion program consists of online courses and brief residencies. It is structured in three 16-week terms (trimesters). Students are expected to enroll for all three terms. Each term is made up of two 8-week mini-terms. This is a nonstandard term program.
- Master of Science in Nursing-Health Care Administration - This program is offered in two formats. The first consists of online courses, practicum and brief residential sessions. It is structured in three 16-week terms (trimesters). Each term is made up of two 8-week mini-terms. The program is standard term. The second format is correspondence study with practicum. Students enrolled in this program may begin an academic year at any time. All coursework is self-paced and must be completed within six months of being started. This is a non-term program.
- Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner - This program consists of online courses, practicum and brief residential sessions. It is structured in three 16-week terms (trimesters), made up of two 8-week mini-terms. This is a standard term program.
- Master of Science in Nursing-Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator - This program consists of on-line courses, practicum and brief residential sessions. The program is structured in three 16-week terms (trimesters). Each term is made up of two 8-week mini-terms. This is a standard term program.
- Master of Education - With three emphases: Quality Schools; Collaborative Teaching and Learning; and Technology Integration. This program is delivered on line and is structured in 18-week semesters, made up of two 9-week mini-terms. In addition, there is a 9-week summer term. This is a standard term program.
The University requested a waiver of the 50 percent rule because of the concern that the distance education programs could grow so quickly that the 50 percent course and/or student count limit would soon be exceeded. The waiver was granted.
The University also requested a waiver of the no-more-than-part-time status for students in correspondence programs. This waiver was granted.
Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives
Graceland is attempting to do two things, given its history of non-term correspondence programs and its present attempt to adapt these degree programs to standard-term or non-standard term telecommunications degree programs.
- At this time, Graceland does not have the resources to completely overhaul its software programming and automate the delivery of Title IV aid to its non-term degree programs. Thus it is manually administering the two small correspondence programs, Addiction Studies and Master of Science in Health Care Administration. All other undergraduate and graduate nursing and allied health programs and its Master in Education programs have been converted to trimester degree programs.
- Although it was initially Graceland's intention to convert all distance education programs to standard or non-standard term telecommunications formats, they are finding a number of students who prefer the flexibility of the non-term program and are willing to forego the Federal financial aid opportunity. The current challenge is to establish a good practicum program within four months instead of six months. They will then avoid having students move back and forth between Title IV-eligible and non-eligible program structures.
Additional Goals for Participation
Graceland's enrollments over the past fifteen years have proved that distance delivery for nursing degree-completion programs served a need in the marketplace. They are determined to:
- Bring to the distance education students the same mission Graceland has traditionally extended to our on-campus students: a sense of learning, community, and wholeness.
- Increase its market share in this field to the same level we experienced seven years ago.
- Increase its administrative efficiency in the delivery of quality telecommunications nursing education, both undergraduate and graduate.
- Provide totally on-line support services to the on-line students.
- Continue to be the sole purveyor of the 100 percent on-line Master of Education degree program offering the Quality Education emphasis developed by Dr. William Glasser.
The fiduciary goal of Graceland is to see a growth in revenue from our distance education programs sufficient to support our distance students as well as our pastoral, but isolated, southern Iowa traditional campus.
Demonstration Program Cohort
Graceland University joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in December 2003 as part of its third cohort.