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College partners with Illinois State to offer dual enrollment for nursing majors

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 29, 2019

Nursing students at the College of Lake County now have an opportunity to accelerate their progress toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Illinois State University, thanks to a new agreement signed Aug. 26 between the two schools.

CLC and Illinois State have signed a memorandum of understanding on a new partnership to benefit nursing students via dual enrollment. The agreement, a first for CLC’s nursing program and effective immediately, allows students in CLC’s associate degree in nursing (ADN) program to begin work on their Bachelor of Science – Nursing (BSN) degree through Illinois State. Photo of CLC President Lori Suddick, Ed.D. and Illinois State University President Larry Dietz, Ph.D.The dual-enrollment program allows students to take courses in both programs at the same time.

“This new partnership is ground-breaking and we’re thrilled to have it,” said CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick. “Health care couldn’t be more important than it is today. We at CLC want to make sure all nursing students have the opportunity to progress their careers in order to deliver the highest quality of health care. With this partnership, our students will be able to seamlessly transition to get their bachelor’s degrees in nursing.”

Photo: CLC President Lori Suddick, Ed.D, and Illinois State University President Larry Dietz, Ph.D., sign a memorandum of understanding Aug. 26 at the Grayslake Campus.

The dual-credit agreement is another example in the long history of two-year and four-year institutions working together, noted ISU President Larry Dietz, Ph.D., who spoke at the announcement, which took place at CLC’s Grayslake Campus. “We’re very proud of the community college student who transfers to our campus, as well as joint programs like this, where students can do online work and stay at their two-year college and finish the academic credential that they need to pursue their goals. I have great hopes for this joint venture. It’s worked for us in other locations (in the state).”

 The agreement offers students a choice of two paths:

  • Dual-enrollment—Students enroll simultaneously at CLC and ISU.This allows students to begin progress toward a bachelor’s degree before graduating with their associate degree. Courses in ISU’s bachelor’s degree program are offered online.
  • Pathways—Pathways pre-admits a CLC nursing student into ISU’s nursing program, however, students do not actually begin to take classes until after they graduate with their associate degree. Advisors from both schools work with the student to ensure that he or she is meeting course requirements for both institutions. And, under Pathways, a student can delay enrollment in the BSN program up to two years after earning an ADN degree.

“Creating two paths to a bachelor’s degree in nursing is a boon for our college and the nursing profession,” said Carmella Mikol, Ph.D., administrator of CLC’s nursing program. “Previously, CLC nursing students have been able to gain admission in the BSN program at Illinois State after completing the ADN program. This new agreement extends our partnership with the university and provides an opportunity for a seamless transition to the Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Dual enrollment will allow students committed to full-time study to already be working on their bachelor’s degree before graduating from CLC.”

While associate degree nurses are a valuable asset in the nation’s health care system and their contributions are many, a bachelor’s degree will augment their knowledge and skills to further contribute their expertise in patient care, Mikol noted.

Other ISU officials also welcome the new agreement. “This program helps us move toward meeting the Institute of Medicine’s goal of an 80 percent BSN-prepared nursing workforce by 2020,” said Judy Neubrander, dean of the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State. “Additionally, College of Lake County students will be well positioned to advance their education even further and pursue graduate degrees in the future. But ultimately, it is our communities that will most benefit from these partnerships.  A well-educated nurse makes a difference one patient at time.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to increase by 15 percent through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

For more information on CLC’s nursing program, visit

CLC’s Fall Semester began Aug. 19, but many flexible-starting courses are available.  For details, visit

About College of Lake County:

College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes, provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We’re proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County.