On January 25, 2023, representatives from Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) gathered on RCSJ's Gloucester campus for a ceremonial signing initiating a multicultural perspective to learning for their nursing students with Central Mindanao University (CMU) located in the Philippines. An official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement signing will be held via Zoom in early February.
The agreement will strengthen cross-cultural ties and promote international understanding between these institutions of higher education, as well as provide academic excellence, and international research and development. The two institutions will also foster exchanges of academic personnel, student study abroad programs, and video exchange of laboratory simulations.
This partnership was initiated by Rowan College of South Jersey Board of Trustee member, Lita M. Abele, a native of the Philippines, who now lives in Mantua Township. Abele is president and CEO of U. S. Lumber Incorporated located in Woodbury Heights, N. J. In 2015, Abele initiated the first University of the Philippines educational partnership with Rowan University, which she has successfully continued to expand with additional universities. “When I became a member of the Rowan College of South Jersey Board of Trustees, I included them in my mission, and now we are signing the MOU between CMU and RCSJ for the collaboration of the nursing program. This is just the beginning. I will continue to further this international collaboration between Rowan University and Rowan College of South Jersey."
RCSJ offers the entry-level nursing courses as part of their 3+1 Premier Partnership with Rowan University.
Dr. Brenden Rickards, RCSJ's Provost and Vice President of Academic Services, credited Abele for working with Dr. Susan Hall, RCSJ's Dean of Nursing and Health Professions, connecting RCSJ with this multicultural opportunity. “Ms. Abele was the catalyst for connecting the three schools to bolster opportunities for collaboration between the nursing programs, said Rickards. This partnership with Central Mindanao University provides RCSJ students opportunities to be exposed to the field of nursing in international settings."
Mary Ellen Santucci, Rowan University's Department Chair, School of Nursing and Health Professions, shares her thoughts on this partnership, “Our nursing students need to have a more global perspective – healthcare is global as evidenced by the pandemic. This partnership between the three schools makes our students more marketable and increases students' professional demeanor, working in different cultures, experiencing different systems and how they function."
In the future, Rowan College of South Jersey plans to explore other potential international opportunities for students entering the field of nursing. For more information on the nursing program at RCSJ, visit RCSJ.edu/3plus1/Gloucester/Nursing.