Montana State University Northern has been placed on warning status by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing after the college failed to keep the proper number of credentialed instructors on staff.
The college was notified of the status change Tuesday night.
The warning status will remain in place until 2015, when the college will have another evaluation.
The nursing program is important to MSU Northern. It ran into trouble just before the start of the school year.
“We had an unexpected resignation,” said Chancellor James Limbaugh.
Nursing is a high-demand field and nursing faculty are highly sought-after, he said. MSU Northern, which is in Havre, also offers nursing classes in Lewistown.
Sometimes, it can be tough to attract talent or keep talent in these rural areas, Limbaugh said.
“Our location does present some challenges,” he said.
The college was already under some scrutiny. Provost and vice-chancellor Rosalyn Templeton unexpectedly quit her position on Monday.
She had announced her resignation in August, stating that she intended to leave Northern on Jan. 4.
Limbaugh explained that he thought it better Templeton leave sooner rather than later.
His office analyzed the college’s programs and he decided they needed “long-term leadership.” So Templeton was placed on leave with pay until her resignation takes effect on Jan. 4.
The college is currently seeking Templeton’s replacement and hopes to have someone hired by the start of the year.
Limbaugh expressed his disappointment that her departure has become a news story.
“This is being turned into a scurrilous and clandestine thing,” he said.
A call placed to Templeton’s home in Havre on Wednesday afternoon was not returned.
Limbaugh pointed to the good things happening at the college. Enrollment has been growing over the last few years and student retention is up 6 percent.
“Do we have challenges? Yes,” he said. “We’re working our way through them.”