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History

Celebrating 50 Years Union University is a private, four-year liberal arts university, founded in 1823, and affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. As an institution that is Baptist by tradition and evangelical by conviction, Union has a heritage of academic excellence and is well known for providing qualitatively distinctive Christian education. Union seeks to provide a grace filled community and a Christian context where undergraduate and graduate education can be offered. Recognized in the top tier of Southern liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report, Union is also ranked as one of five highly selective private institutions by Time Magazine and Princeton Review.

Union University is located in historic Jackson, Tennessee, a city of about 70,000, located 80 miles east of Memphis and 120 miles west of Nashville. Union University has approximately 4,100 undergraduate and graduate students. There are approximately 3,200 undergraduate and graduate students on the Jackson main campus, and 900 on the Germantown extension site. The School of Nursing serves as one of the largest majors for Union University.

Union University began an Associate Degree program in the early 1960’s in response to community need and the support of leaders in the health care field. In 1977, the insistent demand by RNs and their employers for additional nursing educational opportunities led to a feasibility study and subsequent development of the RN–BSN program. In 1979, the Tennessee Board of Nursing granted initial approval for the RN–BSN program on the main campus in Jackson. The first RN–BSN class graduated in May 1980. In 1986, an RN–BSN program was developed in Memphis. The Memphis campus moved locations and became the Germantown campus in August 1997.

In the early 1990’s a local community college developed another associate degree program. At that time, Union University School of Nursing (SON) seized the opportunity to support professional nursing by focusing on baccalaureate education. In 1992, Union University School of Nursing admitted its first Basic BSN class. Shortly thereafter, in 1995, the associate degree program closed. In an effort to improve the mobility of licensed practical nurses, the School of Nursing offers an LPN Bridge program. An accelerated second-degree BSN track began in January 2004 and most recently, a 14-Month BSN Degree Completion track was initiated in summer of 2006. The 14-Month BSN Degree Completion track was discontinued in 2008.  The BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through 2016.  This program also has full approval from the Tennessee Board of Nursing through 2011.

The SON graduate program was initiated in 2000 with a program leading to a Master of Science degree in Nursing. The first cohort of 26 students was admitted in August 2000. Fifteen were admitted on the Jackson campus, and 11 were admitted on the Germantown campus. The MSN program of study is designed to build upon the generalist preparation of the first professional baccalaureate degree. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) document, The Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (1996), serves as the guide for curriculum design and development. The MSN program was restructured in 2005 and now offers five tracks. These include Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, Nurse Anesthesia, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Adult Nurse Practitioner. The Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Education tracks are offered on both campuses.  In 2009, the Nursing Administration and Nursing Education tracks in the MSN program were developed as fully online educational tracks.  The MSN Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through 2016. The program also has full approval from the Tennessee Board of Nursing through 2011.  The post-master's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program was approved by the University in fall 2008 and began implementation in fall 2009.  The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) document, The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (2006) and Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, serves as the guides for curriculum design and development of the DNP program.  The DNP program has full approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA).

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