California State University, Fresno History of the Nursing Department

The 50s

  • Department of Nursing established in College of Life Science, 1956.
  • Norma Beckman appointed department chair in 1957; succeeded by Fannie Gardner in 1958
  • Initial program consisted of 128 units in nursing, 62 units in nursing
  • First class, 46 nursing majors, admitted Fall, 1958
  • Lois Pisano, member of the first class, designed school logo and nursing pin.
  • Students joined the Student Nurse Association of California; Kathleen Kalstrom served as president of local chapter

The 60s

  • Proposal for a Master's of Science program in nursing submitted to Chancellor's Office; approved for implementation, Fall 1968, becoming the first department in the state college system to offer graduate education in nursing.
  • Dorothy Maxson appointed first graduate program coordinator, succeeded by Molly Goldberg
  • First option in graduate program: Psychiatric mental health nursing with role development as educator, clinical specialist, or administrator
  • Annual nursing research colloquia initiated, mostly student presentations
  • BSN program units increased from 128 to 130
  • First class of BSN students graduated Spring 1962
  • Rapid increase in full time enrollment: 325 students
  • Alternate program designed for RN students
  • First pinning ceremony held June 1962
  • Initial NLN accreditation achieved in 1964.
  • NIMH funding received for integration of mental health concepts in undergraduate curriculum
  • Federal traineeship funds to enhance full time graduate study
    Department relocated in to School of Professional Studies, 1966

The 70s

  • Dr. Nani Rabago appointed graduate coordinator, 1971-1978: Dr. Patricia Kasmarik succeeded in 1979
  • Changes in departmental leadership
    • Fannie Gardner
    • Dr. Mary Patterson
    • Dr. John Martin (1 semester)
    • Dr. Shirley Good
    • Eleanore Greene (interim)
    • Helen Sprengel
    • Dr. Patricia Kissell
  • General systems theory selected as conceptual framework
  • Autotutorial and Skills Laboratory established in 1973 with federal Capitation funds.
  • Overall planning by Sandi Kindell; renamed Nursing Resource Center in 1978.
  • Computer laboratory added to NRC under leadership of Chris Banigan.
  • Senior course in critical care nursing designed by Eleanor Stittich

The 80s

  • Department Chairpersons
    • Dr. Patricia Kissell
    • Dr. Karen Nishio
    • Dr. Pauline Kliewer
  • Dr. Mary Ivan appointed graduate program coordinator; followed by Dr. Joan Fiorello Heron
  • Eleanor Stittich, undergraduate program coordinator
  • Over 700 nursing majors (includes premajors, undergraduate, and graduate students)
  • 34 full time faculty and 24 part time faculty; increasing number of doctorally prepared faculty
  • Implementation of Senior Focus (clinical interest selected by students) coordinator: Dr. Michael Russler
  • Curriculum revision to improve sequencing of content from wellness to complex health needs
  • Continued accreditation/approval of programs (BSN, MSN, School Nursing)
  • MSN program units increased from 30 to 36 units (fall, 1988);
    Initiation of pediatric and family nurse practitioner programs, funded by federal grant
  • Sigma Theta Tau International, Mu Nu Chapter, established on campus
  • Development of innovative programs for second degree students, eg. Alpha program

The 90s

  • Department Chairpersons
    • Dr. Mariamma Mathai
    • Dr. Ruth Wilmington
  • Increased use of interdisciplinary and service learning
  • Increased use of innovative teaching strategies to facilitate teaching-learning of diverse student population
  • Emphasis on problem based learning, critical thinking and research
  • Use of diverse clinical sites
  • Integration of technology to facilitate teaching-learning processes
  • Post-master's Nurse Practitioner Program approved by Board of Registered Nursing
  • Curriculum revision to reflect complex societal health needs
  • Emphasis on evidence-based practice
  • Increased emphasis on health care needs of diverse groups
  • Increased use of extramural funds for program development and support

The 2000s

  • Department Chairpersons
    • Dr. Mariamma Mathai
    • Dr. Patricia Nuttall
    • Dr. Michael Russler
  • Approval/accreditation status of programs
    • Baccalaureate in Nursing, including articulation program accredited by CCNE
    • Master of Science in Nursing accredited by CCNE
    • School of Nursing Credential Program, approved by Commission on Teacher Credentialing
    • Post-Baccalaureate School Nurse Services Credential Program with MSN option approved by Commission on Teacher Credentialing and AACN
  • Eleven full time doctorally prepared faculty; seven FT lecturers
  • Song-Brown grant received to expand BSN and NP programs
  • Curriculum emphasis on evidence based practice
  • More than 250 FNP and PNP completed NP program from inception of program
  • Marie Haddad, professor emeriti of nursing, bequeathed largest donation to date for scholarship program in nursing
  • Nursing Alumni Chapter is among the largest chapters within the CSUF alumni groups
  • Top Dogs
    • Carol Smittcamp Copeland 2004
    • Bette Rusk Keltner 2007
    • Pamela Loewen - 2008