THERE IS also some good news for a change at the University of the District of Columbia. The nursing program seems to be out of harm's way. For a while it appeared to be headed in the same direction as three of the school's engineering programs, which lost their accreditation. But unlike them, it has now been resuscitated.

In 1985, a review board of the National League of Nursing formally warned UDC that its nursing program would lose accreditation unless specific improvements were made within two years.The review board wanted, among other things, strict separation between UDC's two-year as-sociate and four-year baccalaureate nursing degrees, based on the belief that the four-year degree is more important and produces better nurses.

This should send a message to UDC's board of trustees. It's new president, Rafael Cortada, wants the university restructured along the same lines -- a two-year, open-admissions community college and a four-year university with higher standards.

Now, full-time and part-time UDC faculty are no longer allowed to teach or act as leaders in both nursing programs. UDC's library holdings and equipment were criticized as inadequate and outdated. New resources have been added, and the library staff now has a nursing faculty adviser. The four-year nursing program lacked experienced leadership. UDC's new nursing director brings 20 years of experience to the job. Additional support staff were needed and have been hired. At the same time, UDC officials successfully argued against some lesser claims by the review board.

The board has now ruled that the various improvements warrant extended accreditation for both nursing programs through 1991. If the same effort can be applied to the engineering programs, more high school graduates will be willing to take a chance on UDC. We hope the nursing program points the way.