By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

For many students, picking a major is a tough decision. It’s not unusual for freshmen and sophomores to have an undeclared major or change their field of study multiple times. But what if a student did declare a major and then the college decided it would no longer be offered?

On February 28, an official statement from President Dick Merriman was released to the campus announcing that at the end of the 2012-13 school year, the College would no longer offer a clinical nursing program.

Most current students won’t be affected by this change. Students who are already accepted into the nursing program should be able to graduate with their degree in nursing before the program is discontinued. However, freshmen who came with the intent of applying for the nursing program now have to figure out what their options are.

In his e-mail, Merriman cited finances as part of the decision. The state has been providing funding to Kansas colleges to improve nursing programs and encourage students to study programs. Unfortunately, this grant money is not available to private colleges. Providing the advanced education these students need is expensive.

To put it simple, the college wants to go out while it’s still on top. Rather than drag things out until the quality of the nursing program has declined drastically, the department still has a good reputation and is graduating quality nurses.

For the freshmen, and for next year’s students who have anticipated being in the nursing department, none of this is consolation.

The freshmen have made this their home. They’ve made friends, they’re involved in activities. Now, they either have to transfer or choose a new direction. Southwestern doesn’t want to see them go but understands if they have to. It’s a little like being dumped but then told, “I still want to stay friends.”

Those who work in admissions have to talk to prospective students who have committed to coming here and now, might make plans to go to a different college.

There are still many questions being asked by students and faculty alike, not everyone has all the answers yet.

The end of the clinical nursing program is sad news for many people and a sign of the financial situation the country is still recovering from, but we shouldn’t take it as an indicator that the college is in trouble.

New classes are always being added to the course catalog. The college tries to offer programs that will attract more students and better prepare those students to succeed in a competitive job market.

The administration has made a decision that they feel is best for the students and faculty of the college, and undoubtedly it’s been a tough one to make. There is disappointment from some, which is to be expected but we are Builders. No matter whether we have to change schools or change degrees, the future is bright.

Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at

Edited by Alejandra Rojas

For a move information about the nursing program visit or for perspectives visit