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Nursing, social work programs win 2018 HBCU Digest awards

WSSU nursing students train in the virtual hospital at the Enterprise Center. 

Winston-Salem State University's (WSSU) nursing and social work programs each earned top honors at HBCU Digest’s 2018 HBCU Awards on June 22.

“We are humbled to have two of our programs recognized as the best among the nation’s HBCUs by HBCU Digest,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson. “This is testament to the exceptional faculty who give their best each and every day to make sure that our students succeed.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony in Baltimore. WSSU is the only North Carolina-based HBCU (historically Black college and university) to win multiple awards.

Best Social Work Program

WSSU’s Department of Social Work is recognized for the individual approach faculty take with students, said Dr. Yolanda Meade Byrd, associate professor and chair of the department.

From the start of their junior year, faculty work one-on-one with students to identify their ultimate goals and to make sure they are prepared though a program called RAMREADY. Of the social work majors who took advantage of the program, 93.75 percent were offered employment or graduate school admission by the time of graduation, Byrd said. 

For students who are looking for immediate employment, the faculty work one-on-one with students in their senior year to develop their job-seeking and interviewing skills. Further, a social work faculty member is assigned to work with each senior who desires to attend graduate school, providing guidance and information.

The social work program, which launched in 2008, also offers a number of programs for its students, including:

  • "Weekend Cafes" where faculty meet with seniors in groups to provide information and guidance about graduate school.
  • An annual social work graduate school fair and forum.
  • Collaborations with universities across the country.
  • A study abroad exchange program with Jamia Millia Islamia University in India.
  • Active Facebook group pages to encourage engagement between students, faculty, alumni and social work professionals.

Best Nursing Program

WSSU’s Division of Nursing is one of the nation’s premier nursing schools, offering programs in the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. In 2017, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked WSSU no. 1 in North Carolina for graduating African Americans in the fields of nursing and health professions.

WSSU also ranks as a top 10 nursing school in the eastern United States and is ranked in the top 10 percent for value.

In January, WSSU became the first North Carolina-based university to offer competency-based program for nurses who are ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree. In November, the division expanded its partnership with Hubei University of Chinese Medicine for WSSU nursing students and faculty to study in China.

WSSU was also a finalist in seven categories:

  • Best Choir, The Singing Rams
  • Best Alumni Publication, Archway Magazine
  • Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program, WSSU School of Health Sciences
  • Male President of the Year, Elwood L. Robinson
  •  HBCU of the Year

According to HBCU Digest, The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalists, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

More than 700 nominations were received for this year’s nomination process, an event record.

Both winning programs are part of WSSU's School of Health Sciences, an ethnically diverse school that embraces health equity in education, research and service. Signature programs include master of science in occupational therapy, clinical doctoral degrees in nursing and physical therapy, and a bridge to the Ph.D. in nursing with Duke University. For more information, please visit the SOHS website.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

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