Monday, November 12

Nursing survives one more year as major


By Gil Hopenstand

Daily Bruin Senior Staff

Enjoying a temporary victory, UCLA salvaged its distinction of
being the only University of California offering an undergraduate
major in nursing – at least for one more year.

The School of Nursing expects to admit another incoming class of
undergraduates in 1995-96, even though the school is faced with a
30 percent cut in its budget this year.

Cuts will total $1 million and will be phased in over the next
three years.

The school was prepared to call off admissions to the class
because of a lack of funding, but nursing administrators and
faculty said they are likely to approve a proposal that would
redistribute budget cuts throughout the school, making way for one
more undergraduate class.

The decision to cancel the 1995-96 class would have come less
than a month before the school begins accepting applications on
Nov. 1, possibly leaving many students confused at the last
moment.

"I’m very pleased that we didn’t close this out with so little
notice," said Diane Cooper, associate dean of student affairs at
the nursing school. "I felt it was a personal obligation to those
students (just applying) and so did the faculty."

The nursing school was one of five graduate schools targeted for
academic, budgetary and administrative changes, designed to save
UCLA $8 million annually. The plan, proposed in June 1993 by
Chancellor Charles Young, called for the elimination of the
undergraduate program as well as cuts to the budget and the number
of staff and degrees offered. The Academic Senate, after months of
intense study, voted to maintain the undergraduate program in June
1994 but approved the million-dollar cut.

The new class will be scaled back to 32 students rather than the
average 45, making the already selective program even harder, said
Mary Canobbio, a pre-nursing major counselor.

"It is going to be more competitive," she admitted. "There will
be no second opportunity (to be accepted at UCLA) if there is no
class of 1996. There is more pressure to do well because they are
competing against a very large pool of students."

Students who are not accepted have few choices to study
elsewhere, because UCLA is the only UC with an undergraduate
program and the nursing programs at the California State University
system are almost filled to capacity.

"We have never been able to admit all the qualified students to
the school – maybe a quarter of qualified students – and this will
make it worse," said Ada Lindsey, the nursing school dean. "Those
students will not get nursing as a choice for their career in this
state, which is a sad case for health care."

"That’s the tragedy," Canobbio agreed. "We’re a highly respected
program and we have no other place to send them as far as UCs are
concerned. We are talking realistically to students and they have
all been told to pick another school."

Citing difficulties in differentiating between undergraduate and
graduate costs, Lindsey said she did not know how much money it
will cost the nursing school to maintain the 1995-96 undergraduate
class.

As a result of supporting the undergraduate program, the
school’s graduate program will be scaled back, possibly admitting
266 new students in 1996 compared to 375 in 1990.

The budget cuts facing the school will be aided this year by
"transitional funds" from Young, as well as continuing support from
the UCLA hospital, which helps pay faculty and staff.

"The (hospital) funds allow us to increase enrollment by 50
students," Lindsey said.

Lindsey added her concern that the reduced number of staff will
not allow the school to be competitive.

"We have an extremely well qualified and productive faculty and
as long as we’re able to retain the faculty, we’ll have good
quality programs. Without the infrastructure of the staff support,
its difficult to maintain quality."

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