College of Nursing named a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing

national league of nursing logo By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Washington State University College of Nursing has been named a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, one of only 15 universities or health care organizations nationwide chosen for this honor.  

The award recognizes the College of Nursing’s statewide programs, innovation, research, community outreach, and its commitment to diversity.

Centers of Excellence “help raise the bar for all nursing programs,” noted Anne R. Bavier, president of the National League for Nursing.

Nursing Center of Excellence badgeThe National League for Nursing’s Centers of Excellence in Nursing Education program recognizes schools that have achieved a level of excellence in one of three designated areas; a fourth category recognizes health care centers. The WSU College of Nursing was named a Center of Excellence for “Enhancing Student Learning and Professional Development.”

50-year history

The College was founded nearly 50 years ago as a groundbreaking collaboration between four schools called the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education. Over the years it has changed its name and expanded its physical locations to include programs offered on campuses in Spokane, Vancouver and the Tri-Cities, and sites in Yakima and Walla Walla. The school retains its intercollegiate origins, with some students completing their prerequisites at Eastern Washington University or Whitworth University, in addition to WSU, and others entering directly from associate degree programs at area community colleges.

Responding to needs

Degree offerings have shifted over time to reflect the health care delivery needs of the region. Current degree programs include Bachelor of Science in Nursing; the Registered Nurse B.S.N. program for working nurses; Master of Nursing; Master of Health Policy & Administration; Ph.D., and Doctor of Nursing Practice, a clinical doctorate for future nurse practitioners and public health administrators. The WSU College of Nursing graduates more nurses with bachelor’s degrees than any other university in the state. Even before students graduate, however, they’re working to improve community health by participating in immunization clinics and other outreach efforts under the direction of faculty.

Equally important is the exponential growth of research being conducted by faculty and students. Since 2005 the College of Nursing has increased its research capacity by 400 percent. The college also is a national leader in using simulation as an instructional tool.

Expert faculty

Joyce Griffin-Sobel, dean of WSU College of Nursing

“Expert faculty create expert nurses. The WSU College of Nursing has been producing the finest nurses in Washington for close to 50 years,” said Joyce Griffin-Sobel, professor and dean of the WSU College of Nursing. “Being named a Center of Excellence — the only college in the Northwest to be honored in this manner — recognizes our innovative, learner-centered teaching, enhanced by a sophisticated simulation program for hands-on, experiential learning. Our faculty ensure that our graduates, at the entry and advanced levels, are prepared to meet the health care needs of our citizens, to reduce the significant access problems that exist in our state, and to increase primary care practice. As a land grant institution, there is no higher calling.”

The National League for Nursing offers professional development, testing services, research grants and public policy initiatives for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. With 40,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members, NLN represents nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations and agencies.


The National League for Nursing’s 2017 Centers of Excellence are:

Enhancing Student Learning and Professional Development 

  • Washington State University
  • Ball State University
  • University of Kansas
  • Emory University
  • Purdue University
  • Rush University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham

Advancing the Science of Nursing Education

  • Kent State University
  • Villanova University
  • Widener University
  • Duke University (named in two categories)

Promoting the Pedagogical Expertise of Faculty

  • Duke University
  • Indiana University
  • Samford University

Creating Workplace Environments that Promote the Academic Progression of Nurses

  • Norton Healthcare Institute
  • Cleveland Clinic


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