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King University News :: King University’s Partnerships with Regional Community Colleges Provide Opportunities for Students

King University’s partnerships with regional community colleges serve to strengthen the high caliber of nurses with which the University’s School of Nursing is renowned.  

“The U.S. health care system and practice environment, including educational institutions, are making profound changes to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from the current 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020,” said Dr. Johanne Quinn, dean and professor of King’s School of Nursing.  “King University has taken a lead in this effort to promote seamless access for nurses to earn a higher level of education by collaborating with several community colleges throughout Tennessee and Virginia. King’s enrollment has doubled in the past few years through its many outreach campuses and locations.  This will not only address the nursing shortage but it will also provide a workforce prepared to meet the demands of diverse populations.” 

One community college partner is Northeast State Community College in Blountville, Tenn.  “Northeast State and King University have enjoyed a long-standing partnership to the benefit of our students. Students transfer seamlessly who complete the requirements in our articulation agreements, including nursing program graduates,” said Dr. Janice H. Gilliam, president of Northeast State Community College.  “Our students who transfer perform well and are successful at the baccalaureate level and beyond.  King University is a very student-friendly institution and we look forward to continuing our partnership to assist our students in meeting their educational goals.” 

King’s nursing program is built on a holistic philosophy that promotes caring relationships and critical thinking.  Its curriculum encourages diversity; social tolerance and justice; and personal, interpersonal, and professional development.  It also supports mission work and an interdisciplinary process that focuses on the physical, spiritual, and intellectual dimensions of health.  The School of Nursing yields highly sought after nurses. 

Nursing students develop key competencies to promote, maintain, and restore health through planned classroom and clinical experiences, including King’s nursing skills laboratory.  Students also develop working relationships with faculty who are highly qualified as skilled practitioners and educators, as well as interact with classmates who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and experiences.

Students also apply classroom knowledge and gain hands-on experience through learning opportunities at the area's finest hospitals and community settings such as health departments and schools, as well as gain acute and critical care experience in local major hospitals, including top-rated cardiac and oncology units.  

The partnerships created with community colleges across Tennessee and Virginia make it possible to meet students where they are.  Whether it is a personal goal or a step toward furthering their career, King is making it easier for working adults throughout the region in their quest to obtain their degree. 

Students who are currently in the nursing program at Northeast State Community College typically complete their associate degree prior to transferring to King for the University’s nursing bridge program.  Students can transfer to King’s nursing program from any program at Northeast.  A reverse articulation agreement would apply if the student transfers prior to completing their associate degree at Northeast.  This agreement grants credits earned at King to transfer back to Northeast, and thereby allows the student to complete his or her associate degree at Northeast while also earning their bachelor’s degree at King. 

Currently, King has articulation agreements with nine community colleges, five in Tennessee and four in Virginia, including Northeast State Community College, Walters State Community College, Pellissippi State Community College, and Roane State Community College.  Also, King is currently developing reverse transfer credit agreements with all partner community colleges.

“An articulation agreement is designed to ensure a students’ path from a community college going through transfer into a bachelor’s level college is a seamless transition,” stated Micah Crews, associate vice president of enrollment management for Graduate and Professional Studies Online Programs (GPS).  “It is designed to take much of the guess work out of the transfer process.  Students know their credits will be accepted at the receiving institution.  Depending on how detailed the articulation agreement is, the student may even know course for course how credits will transfer. 

“We are in the process of updating all eight of the articulation agreements,” continued Crews.  “This gives us an opportunity to retouch them all, and in the end, the agreements will be stronger because they will be even more specific.  Also, we have several potential agreements with additional community colleges in the planning stage.  Industry wide, more and more health systems are seeking to hire bachelor’s degree prepared nurses.  These agreements make it easier for students to transition from the community college to King’s bachelor’s degree programs, whether through a traditional or GPS program.  It is a great opportunity for King to partner with community colleges like Northeast State to provide their students a clear pathway.” 

In addition to King’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, King is making it easier for working nurses throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in their quest to obtain a bachelor’s degree.  King’s GPS Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Registered Nurses (RN-BSN) degree program empowers nurses to become leaders in the health care industry. 

“King's nursing faculty are receptive to the changing landscape in healthcare. They are positioning themselves to be nimble by helping to meet the need for more nurses in the region and in the nation,” said Dr. Matt Roberts, dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer. Our faculty go to multiple instructional locations. One of King's biggest successes is the RN-BSN program, and it shows that wherever we go, there is a need.”

Roberts added, “King, along with its community college partners, is going to meet students where they are and will continue to provide relevant and meaningful educational opportunities that are responsive to the needs of the 21st Century.”

“For nurses who have their RN license by way of an associate degree, King’s RN-BSN GPS program provide an easy transition to obtain their bachelor’s degree in nursing in as little as 16 months,” said Crews.  “In King’s traditional BSN program, we receive transfers from the community colleges who then complete their entire nursing program at King.  We work with the students so they are ready to go into our clinical program and complete it within two years.”

“It is part of our goal with our community college partners to create clear degree pathways for students to be able to walk through, eliminating as many bumps along the road as possible,” continued Crews.  “We would not be able to do this without the support and the hard work that our community college partners put into working with these students as well.” 

For Knoxville area nursing students who only need to complete their clinical studies to receive their nursing degree, there is a new option.  Beginning fall 2013, King University will offer a four-semester clinically ready Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at the schools Hardin Valley location in Knoxville.

“If a student is clinical-ready, but does not have their RN licensure, we are offering another alternative to them to obtain their bachelor’s in nursing,” said Tabitha Moore, admissions representative for King University.  “This program is ideal for those who may have an associate degree in applied science or nursing, but do not yet have RN licensure.” 

King Nursing student Jordan Smith received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from King on Saturday, May 11, 2013.  Prior to graduation, Jordan took a moment to describe his journey to King and his career choice of nursing.  “When I graduated high school in 2008, I was young and indecisive about what I wanted to do with my future.  I decided that Northeast State Community College would be the perfect place to start until I could discover my passion in life.  I knew I wanted to go into the medical field, but in exactly which area I was unsure. Northeast helped me in every way possible to succeed even though I was unsure of my ultimate career path. The staff members were very helpful and worked to ensure the students success. While at Northeast State, I developed my foundation of knowledge on which I would continue to grow.  I was set to graduate with my Associate of Science with a focus on Biology. It was during this time I realized nursing was my passion in life.”

Smith added, “I wanted to continue my pursuit of a nursing degree and after talking with several programs in the area, I knew King was the place for me.  I transferred to King the following fall semester. I will never forget the blessing I felt when the first day of class, and every class to follow, was opened in prayer.  The instructors were more than willing to go above and beyond their job description.  The night before a test in Pediatrics, I’ll never forget texting Professor Crook with a question at midnight.  She called me right back.  This is what every instructor I encountered at King was like.  Through the Nursing program at King, they work to instill that same compassion in the students.  The thing that separates King from other programs is that King teaches us as upcoming nurses to treat the patient and not just the disease.  This is the compassion they instill in each nursing student.  Through my senior clinical, I worked at Holston Valley Medical Center and went on to accept a job in the same unit.  The qualities and skills I gained at King are the same qualities that led to my hiring and my overall success.”

King nursing programs with summer start dates include the RN-BSN in Knoxville and online.  For fall 2013, in addition to Knoxville, nursing students have options of studying for their traditional BSN in Bristol and Kingsport.  The RN-BSN will be offered online, as well as in Bristol, Kingsport, Richlands, Morristown, Strawberry Plains, Harriman, Knoxville, and King’s newest locations in Blount County and Nashville.  King also offers the MSN degree with concentration options in Family Nurse Practice, Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, as well as a dual degree option of MSN and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Kingsport and Knoxville.  The Nursing education, Nursing Administration and MSN/MBA concentrations for the MSN will also be offered online.

The King University School of Nursing is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing, is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

For more information on King University’s School of Nursing visit or


King University is a Presbyterian, master’s-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors and pre-professional degrees and concentration in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, digital media, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. For more information visit, call 800.362.0014, or email