Southwest Minnesota State University Announces New Master of Science in Nursing for Fall 2022

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Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) announces the new Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse Educator Program starting in Fall 2022! The MSN program has received Minnesota State approval. Accreditations are pending with both the Higher Learning Commission and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

“We are excited to be at this stage with our new MSN program. Our Nursing faculty are outstanding in their commitment to their students and to the profession," said Dr. Ross Wastvedt, SMSU Provost. "This accessible and affordable degree builds on our current RN-BSN and extends our ability to serve the nursing profession.”

The purpose of the MSN Nurse Educator program at SMSU is to meet the growing needs of contemporary nurse educators for the region, state, and beyond. In providing this new master's degree, the SMSU Department of Nursing embraces its mission to provide leadership in nursing education, scholarship, and practice that reflects cultural, ethical, and compassionate presence in the preparation of nurses who will serve with excellence in a diverse and ever-changing society.

 “The MSN degree adds an exciting new direction for our Nursing Program," said Dr. Raphael Onyeaghala, SMSU Dean of the College of Business, Education, Graduate, and Professional Studies. "This program accentuates leadership in nursing education, research, and advanced knowledge to prepare students to serve with excellence in a diverse and ever-changing society.”

The MSN Nurse Educator Program prepares advanced, visionary, holistic nurse educators who synthesize scientific evidence for application to nursing and teaching practice. The core framework includes advanced nursing study in leadership, continuous quality improvement, self-care and health promotion, population health, and evidence-based practice. The Nurse Educator specialization consists of academic nursing, professional development nursing, teaching in clinical and community settings, educational theory, instructional technology, curriculum, education assessment/evaluation, and culturally responsive teaching. Using flexible programming and experiences, MSN students develop vital interprofessional collaboration, leadership and communication skills, teaching, and ethical foundations of contemporary nursing.

Dr. Nancyruth Leibold, the Acting Chair and Associate Professor of Nursing at SMSU, is leading the program development. "Our MSN Nurse Educator program seeks to address the severe shortage of nurses and bridge the gap by preparing individuals to teach in nurse educator programs. The contribution of this program will serve the communities by advancing the number of nurse educators available to train and teach nurses.”

The MSN Nurse Educator program at SMSU is unique because it recognizes that most students are working professionals and have unique life circumstances. The SMSU MSN program is a flexible, online program in which students may enroll part-time or full-time. Clinicals at this time are being planned for virtual format and flexible to meet the schedules of our students. Opportunities for asynchronous and synchronous clinical experiences are possible. The MSN Program curriculum is comprised of 39 graduate credits.

Admission criteria to the SMSU MSN Nurse Educator program includes

  • Acceptance to SMSU prior to application to nursing program, (excluding CA residents as CA does not participate in the U.S. state reciprocity agreement)
  • Active, unencumbered RN license in the U.S.
  • Bachelor’s degree in the science or arts of nursing from an accredited nursing program (ACEN (formerly NLNAC), NLN/CNEA or CCNE)
  • Total cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate courses from the baccalaureate nursing degree
  • Paragraph summary of professional goals

For more information, please contact Dr. Nancyruth Leibold at the SMSU Department of Nursing at

Marcy Olson, Asst. Director, SMSU Communications and Marketing