Skip to main content Skip to footer

April 14, 2023

SVSU and Kirtland Community College strengthen partnership to grow the nursing talent pipeline, provide better patient care

Two nursing students stand at beside of female patient

Saginaw Valley State University and Kirtland Community College in Grayling continue to build on their partnership to increase the talent pool of nurses in northern Michigan.  

The two institutions have been working together for years to expand nursing education opportunities for students who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Through the ADN to BSN program, Kirtland students who are pursuing an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) are able to concurrently work on a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) accredited by SVSU. 

Now, under a plan developed by the State of Michigan, Kirtland Community College will receive a $2 million grant to administer the program in collaboration with SVSU. With this financial support, Kirtland will add staff, further develop nursing facilities and equipment, provide professional development for current instructors, and create scholarships to help students cover costs of courses. With these additions to the SVSU partnership, Kirtland will be able to now provide all necessary learning for a bachelor’s degree from SVSU at its Grayling campus. 

“SVSU is thrilled to be expanding our longstanding relationship with Kirtland Community College,” said Marcia Ditmyer, dean of SVSU’s College of Health and Human Services. “Now it will be even easier for Kirtland nursing students or nursing alumni to achieve their dream of obtaining a BSN from SVSU. Both institutions are excited about the role this partnership plays in preparing BSN-prepared nurses that will help improve quality of patient care.”  

Beginning this fall, Kirtland and SVSU will be building onto their partnership by: 

  • creating an additional 3+1 ADN to BSN program. 
  • providing students with success coaches and tutoring options. 
  • hiring additional instructors to teach at Kirtland to minimize travel between campuses as students complete their degree. 

“These new additions to our partnership will allow students yet another avenue to obtain their BSN and provide additional resources for support,” said Amy Polzin, Kirtland Community College’s director of nursing. “This will only strengthen our already existing partnership as the students will have more than one option to obtain their BSN.” 

Created to serve students attending a community college such as Kirtland, the partnership with SVSU provides additional pathways for students who want to continue their education after completing an associate’s degree. Kirtland’s current partnership with SVSU stands out as front-runner in providing the medical profession with higher educated nurses in a field needing employees, and ultimately resulting in improved patient care. 

“By having this partnership, we are opening the door for people to conveniently obtain a BSN,” said Kirtland Community College President Dr. Thomas Quinn. “We are providing students who work and have obligations outside of academics a chance at obtaining their BSN, when before that may have not been an option.” 

The new 3+1 pathway program created by Kirtland and SVSU will allow students to focus on pre-requisites, ADN-specific course work, and nursing licensure before taking BSN courses through SVSU. 

“This allows students to get our courses completed first, then frees them up to focus specifically on SVSU courses needed to finish their BSN degree,” said Quinn. “A focus behind the new 3+1 BSN program is to further increase opportunities and chances for students to gain their degree by eliminating stress.” 

Ditmyer said attainment of the bachelor’s degree offers registered nurses a comprehensive, holistic professional education focusing on best practice, community health, leadership and process improvement as it relates to patient safety and quality care.  

The partnership between Kirtland Community College and SVSU increases support, pathways and facilities as the two institutions collaborate to deliver excellence in nursing education.  

SVSU and Kirtland are among many Michigan institutions participating in this program to expand nursing education opportunities throughout the state. Under the $56 million initiative, which is included in the fiscal year 2023 state budget, community colleges can receive funding to partner with a four-year college or university. This collaboration will include input from local employers and workforce development agencies. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will administer the grant. 

Saginaw Valley State University is a comprehensive university offering more than 90 programs of study, including one of the largest undergraduate nursing programs in the Midwest. The university has maintained high standards of instruction and clinical preparation. In 2022, SVSU nursing students recorded a remarkable first-time pass rate of 92% on the national licensing exam (NCLEX), which nurses must pass to enter the nursing profession. 

Kirtland Community College has been inspiring excellence for over 50 years and offers courses in Grayling, Gaylord, and online. Our Mission at Kirtland is to provide innovative educational opportunities to enhance student lives and build stronger communities. Through our offered educational programs, we believe Kirtland will be the first choice for learner-centered education guiding students and communities toward success. For more information about Kirtland Community College, visit, or call (989) 275-5000.