Director of TVCC’s nursing unit resigns over fears state will close program

UPDATE: Records from the Oregon Board of Nursing provided additional details on issues at Treasure Valley Community College.

ONTARIO – The director of Treasure Valley Community College’s nursing program resigned Wednesday, citing concerns that state officials intended to shut down the program and that college administrators had been “unsupportive.”

Paulla Mizer, hired last July to take over a program in turmoil, said in her resignation letter obtained by the Malheur Enterprise that an official from the Oregon State Board of Nursing made clear in a visit last week that the state “has every intention of closing the Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) nursing program.”

The stunning development comes just as a new school year starts, with 20 second-year students and 14 first-year students. The nursing program is considered a “cornerstone” at the college, according to a statement by Dana Young, TVCC president.

The college announced Mizer’s resignation on Thursday but didn’t explain why, saying only that the “nursing program is once again undergoing some changes.”

Young said that “I’m still excited about what is ahead.”

Mizer was unsparing in her resignation.

“During my time here, I have been the recipient of uncivil treatment from the OSBN, Dr. Stafford and other staff at TVCC,” Mizer wrote in her resignation letter. “During this time I found administration, at times, to be unsupportive with my efforts to keep this school open.”

Mizer claimed in the letter that TVCC administrators were privy to state board’s intention to close the program but kept her out of the loop regarding certain “nonnegotiable requirements” for the program to stay open.

She said she was unaware the state was requiring that the nursing instructors spend time last summer at another community college and that the instructors would have a “boot camp.”

“I was unaware that the administration at TVCC had listened to the tapes of the June and July OSBN meeting prior to the October 23 visit, and they did not apprise me of the mandatory requirements from those tapes,” Mizer wrote.

Mizer said she felt “blindsided or kept in the dark by this administration.”

“In addition, I realized that this decision by the OSBN will have a devastating impact on these student’s lives,” Mizer added.

The tone of Mizer’s resignation letter contrasts to a report she submitted to the state nursing board just two weeks ago.

“We have started out classes and things are going very well,” she wrote in an Oct. 15 update. She said the teaching staff continued to “assess, evaluate and discuss” the Treasure Valley program.

“I would like to thank the entire board for your kindness and support during the evaluation process,” Mizer wrote.

Nancy Irland, an analyst with the nursing board, made the Oct. 23 visit and reported to the board in a closed-door session. She also said in a written report that “overall, the faculty appear to be using effective teaching methods for student learning. The students were enthusiastic and very pleased with their education.”

Abby Lee, TVCC associate vice president said that Brianne Haun, a new faculty member who has taught as a clinical adjunct instructor since 2014, will assume the role of director of the college’s nursing program.

While Haun is qualified for the job with a master’s degree in nursing, Lee said, she still has to be cleared by the Oregon State Board of Nursing.

The board overseas both state licensing of nurses as well as approval of all nurse education programs, Lee said.

“Nothing is guaranteed, but we have been in close contact with the Oregon State Board of Nursing,” Lee added.

This story will be updated.


Resignations hit Treasure Valley Community College nursing program

News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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