Nursing, technology programs added to offerings in Asheville

Doctoral and bachelor’s degree programs in nursing and a master’s degree program in technology have been added to the lineup of academic offerings available this fall at Western Carolina University’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square in Asheville.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors earlier this year gave its approval for WCU to begin offering the doctor of nursing practice degree jointly with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Considered the terminal degree in nursing, the program will prepare students to practice at the highest clinical level and provide leadership in health care systems.

The DNP is beginning this fall as a post-master’s program, giving students who have completed requirements for a master of science in nursing degree the option of continuing for another two years of study to receive a doctor of nursing practice degree. Almost half the course work will be offered online, with face-to-face classes alternating between Asheville and Charlotte.

Another addition to WCU’s programs in Asheville is the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses Program, or RIBN. The bachelor’s degree program, begun in 2008 as a partnership between WCU, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and the Foundation for Nursing Excellence, allows students to be dually accepted and enrolled in both the university and a community college.

While completing course work for an associate degree at the community college, the student concurrently takes online liberal studies courses at the university. An associate degree is awarded after the first three years. After successfully completing a state board exam, the student completes the fourth year at WCU while beginning employment in health care on a part-time basis. A model program now duplicated across the state, the Western North Carolina collaboration has now grown to include Southwestern Community College and Blue Ridge Community College.

The master’s degree program in technology prepares students who hold bachelor’s degrees in a related field for careers that require technical applications related to quality assurance, manufacturing operations and industrial supervision. The program includes 30 credit hours (10 courses) plus a final oral exam, and students are expected to complete it in two calendar years by taking two courses during both the fall and spring semesters and one course each summer. Each semester, one course will be taught at WCU’s Biltmore Park facility one evening each week, and the other course will be offered online or in the form of independent study.

“WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology is proud to offer its master of science in technology program at the Biltmore Park site,” said James Zhang, dean of the Kimmel School. “This offering has been overwhelmingly supported by the industries and community colleges in the region. The curriculum was created with input from our industry and community college partners, and it is designed to best suit the needs of working professionals.”

An orientation session for newly admitted students taking WCU classes at Biltmore Park will be held Thursday, Aug. 15. Classes begin Monday, Aug. 19.

For more information about nursing programs, contact Jessica Shirley, director of student services in WCU’s School of Nursing, at 828-654-6506 or Individuals with questions about the technology program should contact James Zhang at 828-227-2159 or For general information about WCU’s academic offerings in Asheville, go online to or contact Patsy Miller, director of WCU Programs at Biltmore Park, at 828-654-6498 or