College of Nursing Lincoln Division celebrates relocation

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Participating in the ribbon-cutting are, from left, UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., Cathy Todero, Ph.D., associate dean, UNMC College of Nursing, Lani Zimmerman, Ph.D., assistant dean, UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division, Lincoln Mayor Colleen Seng and NU Regent Charles Wilson, M.D.
When students at the UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division e-mailed UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., about an inadequate learning environment, he listened.

This fall, students, faculty, staff and specials guests celebrated the division's move into the Commerce Court building in downtown Lincoln. The Oct. 28 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house was at the college's new location at 1230 O St.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents last year approved a proposal to temporarily relocate the college into Commerce Course, a renovated building in downtown Lincoln only two blocks from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. The long-range plan is for UNMC leaders and the University of Nebraska Foundation to raise money to build a new facility at an estimated $7.5 million.

The UNMC Lincoln Division facility occupies 24,779 square feet on three levels of the Commerce Court building. Since 1976, the Lincoln Division has been in Benton and Fairfield Halls on the UNL campus.

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A larger skills laboratory is one of the advantages of the move.
Associate Dean Cathy Todero, Ph.D., welcomed a group of people at the open house/ribbon cutting ceremony on behalf of Virginia Tilden, D.N.Sc., dean of the college, who is recovering at home from an accident. Other speakers included UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., University of Nebraska Regent Charles Wilson, M.D., Assistant Dean Lani Zimmerman, Ph.D., Lincoln Mayor Colleen Seng, nursing student Ashley Siebe and nursing professors.

Dr. Maurer said the move was prompted by e-mails he received from the division's students describing an inadequate learning environment. "We paid a visit," Dr. Maurer said. "I would say it was pretty awful. They were living under intolerable conditions. So I met with UNL (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) Chancellor Harvey Perlman to see if there was something we could do on the campus."

Dr. Maurer credits the regents for supporting the initiative and for Dr. Wilson's long-time, strong support of nursing. "I really feel good about what's being done here," Dr. Maurer said. "We think this facility will be something special for them. I think environment determines behavior and this is an environment that is rich and wonderful."

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A student break room at the UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division's new location.
Dr. Wilson said it is important to support nurses. "At some point in our lives, we all need the help of a nurse," he said. "With baby boomers, we will need more nurses. As we move forward, we will need new ways to educate those students. This is a very welcome move and it's going to help recruit faculty and students that we already desperately need."

With 30 faculty, six staff, seven grant personnel and 199 undergraduate nursing students enrolled in its programs, Dr. Zimmerman said the new space is being used to its fullest. "Our students are very pleased with their new facilities and it's so nice to have the space and equipment to facilitate their learning in this type of environment," she said, thanking Drs. Maurer and Tilden for making the move a reality.

Denise Linder, college alumnae and director of nursing at Bryan LGH Medical Center East, was impressed with the new location and distance and classroom technology. "It's wonderful," she said. "If you're comfortable, you're ready to learn. It's great to be able to offer that technology to our kids. It's the expectation of today's learner."