Thursday, March 29, 2007

Response From Father Wild: Including a Doctored Document

March 28, 2007

Dear Lydia,

Thank you for your letter regarding your experience at Marquette. After receiving your letter and a letter from your father, I discussed your case with a number of colleagues. First, let me say that I do appreciate your situation. I certainly understand that your life plans changed and that you moved from Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast region as a result of your marriage and your husband's work as an Episcopal priest. I'm sure that you are making a positive difference in the lives of your parishioners and in your community. So I do appreciate your current circumstances.

Those things said, Marquette has a specific requirements outlined in the Graduate Bulletin that we must adhere to in terms of granting degrees. You yourself agreed to the terms outlined by the College of Nursing and in the Graduate Bulletin when you were a student. Specifically, you signed a Memorandum of Understanding dated April 1, 2004 (copy enclosed) where you acknowledged and agreed to the following:

"Please understand that the purpose of this program is to prepare you with a Master of Science degree in Nursing. You will not receive another bachelor's degree. At the completion of the pre-MSN phase, you will be eligible to take the professional licensing exam for nursing in the State of Wisconsin."

You agreed to these terms. If they were not acceptable to you, then you should not have signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Specifically, you agreed that you would not earn a bachelor's degree and that after the pre-MSN phase, you would be eligible to take the licensing exam in the State of Wisconsin, but not in any other state. Now you are asking Marquette to award you a bachelor's degree, and that is something that we did not promise and cannot do because you did not earn such a degree here at Marquette. In order to earn a bachelor's degree, Marquette requires completion of 53 credits of university core courses in addition to the nursing courses, plus a student must earn a total of 128 credits in order to receive a bachelor's degree. Since you did not meet these requirements, you cannot receive a BSN degree. Rather, you were required to take 50 credits of undergraduate nursing courses to be eligible to take the NCLEX examination in Wisconsin. The State of Wisconsin has interpreted its licensing requirements to allow students who have completed the pre-MSN phase of Marquette's Direct Entry Program to sit for the licensing exam. We do not control how other states interpret their own licensing requirements.

Professional licensing remains the jurisdiction of each individual state. Indeed, your letter states that you took the NCLEX examination at the conclusion of the pre-MSN phase of the program, as outlined in the materials you received from us, and you passed that exam which allowed you to be licensed in Wisconsin.

While I appreciate that you and your husband left Wisconsin, I must point out that in doing so, you were informed on multiple occasions what this would mean for your future career in nursing, namely that it would likely be necessary for you to take addition courses at another institution in order to become licensed outside of Wisconsin.

We have no direct influence over any state authorities. That said, I know that Dr. Judith Fitzgerald Miller, Associate Dean of the College of Nursing has been working with you with respect to the Mississippi licensing requirements (see enclosed letter from Dr. Miller to you dated February 26, 2007). My assessment of this is that Dr. Miller is going above and beyond in order to help you, which is what I would expect of faculty members at Marquette. While Dr. Miller is doing all that she can to help you, it is important to remember that what we can do with respect to Mississippi is limited.

The best advice that I can give is for you to continue working directly with Dr. Miller on possible solutions to this issue. I recognize that you and your family are not pleased with the current status, but the issue is beyond Marquette's control for the reasons explained above. You chose to move out of Wisconsin and unfortunately that decision complicated your nursing situation a great deal.

For the rest, please be assured of my prayers for you and your husband that our good and gracious God will bless your continued work in Mississippi.


Robert A. Wild, S.J.
This letter included a copy of the "Memorandum of Understanding" in which someone had hand-written in the word "only" in this passage:

At the completion of the pre-MSN phase, you will be eligible to take the professional licensing exam for nursing in the state of Wisconsin only.

The word "only" was not on the original document at the time that I signed it. The insertion of the word "only" completely changes the meaning of the sentence. The document that I signed stated that I could become licensed in Wisconsin, but said nothing about licensure in other states.