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Georgia College
Project Title:Pre-Nursing Residential Learning CommunityInstitution Name:Georgia College & State University Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Kendra Russell, Assistant Director, School of Nursing, or Erin Weston, Pre-Nursing Residential Learning Community AdvisorContact Information:Russell: (478) 445-7135 or Kendra.russell@gcsu.edu; Weston: (478) 445-2634 or erin.weston@gcsu.edu, Website:http://www.gcsu.edu/nursing/rlc.htm
Project Description:The Pre-Nursing Residential Learning Community (RLC) provides freshman students with the opportunity for guaranteed admission to the nursing program, academic advising support, career exploration, and integrated social experiences. This select group lives together and takes a Freshman Seminar Course designed to meet their learning needs. Guaranteeing admission into the nursing program decreases the stress of competition and allows students to focus on academics, participate in activities, and develop relationships with faculty.  RLCs were established in Academic Affairs at Georgia College in 2003 under the guidance of a RLC Coordinator. Funding is supported through Student Affairs and the School of Nursing.

Primary outcome is the success of these first-year students in completion of nursing program within 3 years of start.

Goals to assist in achieving the long-term outcome:

  • Increase retention of first-year RLC pre-nursing students (PNS) by year 1.
  • Maintain high academic achievement among first-year RLC PNS by year 2.
  • Increase engagement of first-year RLC PNS by year 2.
  • Increase diversity of nursing major by 5% by year 3.

The RLC has been successful at retention, engagement, and academic achievement. The first group will begin the nursing program this Fall 2011.

  • Retention the rate (first to second year) is 96%.
  • Average GPA of first-year PNS is 3.24.

·         Academic adjustment: RLC members are more likely to keep current with their academic work in comparison to non-RLC members (RLC 91.7%; non-RLC 78%).

  RLC members have donated over 400 hours in healthcare related activities.

·         Overall experience at the institution: RLC members are more likely to rate their experience as excellent and exceptional in comparison to non-RLC members (RLC 91.7%; non-RLC 62%).

 ·         Diversity (male/minority students) within the RLC has increased slightly from year 1 to year 2 for a total of 4%.

Challenges/Problems Encountered:


Students who are interested in the RLC apply and participate in an interview process. One of the challenges faced was advertising and marketing the program, which resulted in low application numbers. It took time to establish a known presence, and applications have doubled since initiation. Plans are to develop visual media to assist with recruitment efforts. Another challenge was increasing the diversity of the RLC. Information has been shared through our GLIMPSE program which focuses on minority recruitment. More attention will be given to recruit from high schools with a diverse study body.

Evaluation Approach:The evaluation approach was based on resources, outcomes, and data needs. The major outcomes were identified by the nursing admissions committee in recognizing the increasing competitiveness of admission to the nursing program. Data elements were identified by data that would support retention efforts. The Pre-nursing advisor works closely with the BSN coordinator and Assistant Director in evaluating outcomes. It has been recognized on campus as a model for others.
Potential for Replication:The RLC can be implemented on other campuses, but student support services, housing, and administration need to be involved. Having a designated advisor and a marketing plan would be essential. RLC members earn points for participation in health-related activities. Our campus offers a number of activities such as flu vaccination drives, simulation with standardized patients, and recruitment programs. It would be most challenging if the RLC advisor had to develop activities for the RLC.
Additional Resources:

Residential Learning Communities (general) http://www.gcsu.edu/rlc/

Nursing Residential Learning Community http://www.gcsu.edu/rlc/nursingoverview.htm

CEO-to-CEO Contact:Steve Michael Dorman , Presidentsteve.dorman@gcsu.edu
(478) 445-4444
Date Published: Friday, April 29, 2011Date Revised: Thursday, April 12, 2012