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Cech pledges growth to Carroll’s nursing program, commitment to students

Posted at 5:47 PM, Apr 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-27 19:47:49-04

HELENA – Carroll College President John Cech announced plans Friday to expand the university’s nursing programs significantly in the near future.

Carroll President John Cech announced at his inauguration ceremony the school will be provided a $1 million grant to fund the E. L. Wiegand Nursing Simulation Center.

The grant from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation will be used to reconfigure the nursing department’s laboratories, offices and classroom space to add new equipment to three labs and an observation room to provide opportunities for students to see real-world scenarios.

“We’re really springboarding [the grant] to move us forward to several key health professions areas,” Cech said. “So over the next couple of years we will be developing a physician assistant program, a Master of Social Work, licensed clinical practitioner, and a Master of Genetic Counseling.”

Cech said the goal is to reach more people looking for nursing careers and help them succeed in a growing Montana industry.

For 45 years, more than 1,000 students have graduated Carroll College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Last year, the nursing program saw a 100% pass rate on the Registered Nurse National Licensure Exam.

Cech is the 18th president of Carroll College, and his inaugural theme was “The Year of the Student.”

He said he chose to hold his inauguration in conjunction with the annual Student Undergraduate Research Festival to reflect that value.

“They’re such amazing students students, and they do incredible things through research,” said Cech. “The fact that one of our math modeling teams was in the top 7% in the entire world is amazing. I wanted the attention of this inauguration focused on the students and their achievements — not on me.”

Senior Terry Cox was a member of that team, and he said he feels fortunate to have so many people show interest in the work they’ve done.

“The faculty is awesome in giving us an opportunity to do undergraduate research and present our results in an environment where everyone is really interested and give us a chance to kind of express what we’re able to do as undergraduates,” said Cox.

The Student Undergraduate Research Festival on Thursday recognized the research work of Carroll students and allowed them to present their findings.

143 presentations were on display featuring a wide range of subject matter.

Topics included the effects of canine assisted therapy, the effects of stress on memory retention and partisanship in Montana’s elections.

The projects represented months and even years of work by the students.

-Reported by John Riley/MTN News