Nursing

Dean's Updates

June 12, 2024

 

I am excited to announce the establishment of a new endowed chair position. The Olga Marks Fay Endowed Chair for Health and Arts in Nursing will allow the college to recruit and support a faculty member to develop a sustainable policy, practice, research, and teaching portfolio on health and arts in nursing. Exploring health experiences through the arts promotes consideration and deepened understanding of the ways in which embodiments, including but not limited to aging, chronic conditions, disability, and intersectional identities, impact effective nursing care for individuals, families, and communities.

As the largest part of the professional healthcare workforce worldwide, nurses serve as core healthcare providers and leaders across every setting where people live, learn, work, play, worship, and love. This endowed chair's work will appreciate the centrality of disability as a valued intersectional identity (e.g., age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, race, religion, sexuality) that facilitates innovation across all facets of society. Disability engenders creativity as disabled people must often adapt, create, and reinvent to navigate inaccessible environments. The creation and enjoyment of the arts (e.g., literary, performance, visual) in healthcare promotes wellness with benefits across various markers, such as health literacy, health maintenance, disease prevention, and health promotion. 

The faculty member in this endowed chair position will lead curricular innovations, coordinate Curator Lectures and Artist Talks, and support patient-centered interprofessional education and practice. Alumna Beth Marks, PhD, RN, FAAN provided this gift to the college in appreciation of the positive impact of art-based strategies on equitable healthcare, health outcomes, and social cohesion for nursing care recipients, while simultaneously supporting nurses and care communities. Integrating arts into nursing curricula can develop insightful, reflective nurses who can think critically and transform nursing practice by providing humanized care for all. With the arrival of incoming Dean Alicia Ribar, this gift will support the transformation within the college. 

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn how you can help in the transformation of the college by establishing an endowed fund or making a commitment through your estate, please contact Matt Pearce (pearcemt@foundation.uc.edu). If you would like to discuss how your values align with the college priorities needing support, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet with you and/or connect you with our incoming dean! 

In this Dean’s message, I’d like to address the past, present, and future of men in nursing. Although men only represent about 12% of the current U.S. nursing workforce, for several millennia, nursing was predominantly peopled by men. The first known men in nursing occurred around 250 BC in India. In ancient Rome, men in nursing were known as nosocomi. In 1572, the Hospitaller Order of the Brothers of Saint John of God, also known as the Brothers of Mercy, was founded. This order of male nurses continues to exist today covering 20 world regions including the United States. A key male nurse in U.S. nursing history is Luther Christman, who in 1974 founded what later became the American Association for Men in Nursing. 

Today, men can be seen in all specialties of the nursing profession, including medical/surgical, critical care, home care, and even obstetrics nursing. Last fall, I met a male nurse who is making a profound impact in health care. Noah Yaeger is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner providing outpatient psychiatric care at the Pyramid Lake Tribal Health Clinic in Nevada. His commitment to the community of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation reflects male nurses providing equitable care across the lifespan. 

A few weeks ago, the College of Nursing held its annual Torch of Excellence awards ceremony. During the event, the future of nursing was well-represented – Jack Patterson, president of the college’s chapter of the American Association for Men in Nursing, spoke to the audience about the inclusion he has experienced since becoming a nursing student. He also discussed his chapter’s commitment to ensuring a college environment inclusive of all genders and races. 

Men like Luther Christman, Noah Yaeger, and Jack Patterson inspire me to continue focusing on equitable and inclusive practices in the college. 

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn more about other men at the college making an impact in teaching, service, and scholarship, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet with you! 

In January 2023, I promised to launch a review of the college’s policies and procedures relating to students from an equity lens. The review of approximately 700 pages was completed in November by a diverse group of faculty, staff, administrators, and students. The group of reviewers met over two days in December 2023 to discuss and clarify the 110 recommendations derived from this process. We determined that many of these recommendations needed further input so, during the ensuing months, we met with multiple student and faculty/staff groups to discuss the recommendations and garner further input to promote a shared governance outcome. Since April, the recommendations have been submitted to various college staff and faculty groups for discussion and decision on whether to adopt a change. Not all recommendations have yielded a change, because in some cases the policy is in fact equitable or the policy is “owned” by a non-college entity (e.g., Graduate College). Several of the recommendations have already been adopted or discussed and voted upon, others are undergoing edits to clarify their intent.

There remain 31 recommendations in which policies or procedures will continue to be edited before fall semester, will be discussed again in the fall semester, or will have a taskforce charged to address the recommendation. For example, the one policy states that: “Dismissal means that a student is permanently excluded from the College of Nursing.” There was strong consensus across the policy review teams, focus group sessions, and faculty that this policy needs to be changed and, because the policy exists across multiple handbooks, the faculty were charged to return in the fall with an equitable recommendation that fits all the college’s programs. We recognize that while students may have a period of challenges prohibiting their ongoing success in a particular program, these challenges can resolve over time—and the student should be considered for admission to another program in the future.

Documents listing the status of each recommendation, rationale if changes were not made, and outcome if changes were made can be found at the bottom of the DEI page on Bearcats Landing. The same documents are available to students in their respective Canvas community pages. If you are external to the college and would like a copy of these documents, please contact Sharon Geiger (geigersr@uc.edu).

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn more about our other efforts to promote student success and an equitable student experience, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet with you!

Thank you to everyone who supported the college of nursing during the annual UC Day of Giving! I’d like to call out two individuals from our faculty and staff who have been donating to the college for the longest periods of time. Elaine Miller, professor, has been donating to the college for 23 years, and Sherry Donaworth, associate professor of clinical nursing, has been donating for 20 years. Sherry wrote about why she donates: “I’ve only donated small amounts, but I thought it was important. If everyone who was able to donate sent a small amount, it could add up to making a big difference.”

Sherry’s statement is absolutely true. This year the college received $19,953 from 183 gifts. This amazing outcome reflects a commitment to the college across a broad spectrum of donors including 71 of our own college faculty and staff members. The fact that someone believes in our college mission and makes a donation is more important than the amount that is given—all gifts equally help the college to remain successful.

I also want to express an additional appreciation for those persons who donated to the new Student Belonging and Inclusivity Programming Fund. This fund received over $3,100 in donations, which will be used to support college of nursing student organizations and their efforts to promote inclusion within their constituents.

We have an upcoming 5K run/walk in person on Saturday, June 8 coupled with a virtual walk for those not able to join us in person. All proceeds from the registrations of this 5K run/walk also will be used to support the new Student Belonging and Inclusivity Programming Fund. Register for the 5K run/walk here.

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn more about how you can volunteer for the 5K walk, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet with you!

A few weeks ago the college hosted an active shooter training. I want to thank Becky Bogart for taking the lead and working with Lt. McKeel from UC Police to offer the training in Procter Hall. Faculty, staff, and students started with a presentation and discussion to Run (if there is an accessible escape path), Hide (if evacuation is not possible), or Fight (as a last resort). Then the group participated in three simulations (run, hide, fight) in which they recognized their personal natural responses following a gunshot. The group debriefed after each simulation. Multiple police offers and fire service/first respondents were present to assure the safety of those participating in the simulations. Notices also were made so that the surrounding community would not assume a real active shooter situation was occurring.

As you reflect upon what you would do during an active shooter situation, also consider your response to other natural and human-made disasters. Do you know where the closest fire alarm is to your classroom or office in the event of a building fire? Do you know where to seek shelter during a tornado emergency? (One location: 1st floor stairwell.) Do you know the phone number to report Title IX sexual harassment? (It’s 513-556-2788.) If you have to evacuate the building and get help, do you know where the nearest emergency pull button is? (It’s along the hotel driveway in the mulch.) Do you know where our rally point is for a building evacuation? (It’s in the field next to Procter and the hotel.) I encourage you to explore the building and see the sites for emergency activations. Being prepared and ready to respond can make a significant impact to the life, health, and disability of yourself and our college community.  

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn more about our strategies focused on personal and community safety at the college, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet with you!

Next week is our annual Day of Giving at UC. There are many funds available for giving that support student success, such as scholarship funds and Leadership 2.0.

In this Dean’s Message, I’d like to highlight a new fund that has been established. The Student Belonging and Inclusivity Programming Fund will be used to support student organizations in the college. Unlike other student-focused funds that go to a specific student, this fund will be used to support our college’s student organizations. In order to access those funds, student leaders from the college’s student organizations will submit an application. They will provide a budget and describe how the funds will be used to support student belonging and inclusivity for their members. The college’s scholarship committee will make recommendations on funding based on funds available.

Two additional funds, Skelly Emergency Fund and Susan Opas Emergency Fund for Nursing Students, are used to support students with a financial emergency. Over the last 18 months, I have encountered several students who described their need for emergency funds. Reasons have included an acute illness, need to cover prescription cost, and parental death. There are many other reasons students would need emergency funds. Students having access to these funds allow them to continue matriculating in our program and achieve their professional goals.

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn more about funds and scholarships at the college, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet with you!

In this biweekly message, I’d like to focus on a new simulation lab designed to train nurses and allied health professionals on safe patient handling practices. A leading cause of nurses exiting the workforce over the last several decades has been musculoskeletal injuries (e.g., back, shoulders). These injuries are caused by repeated lifting and patient repositioning over the course of a nurse’s lifetime. As new lifting and repositioning technologies have been developed, some healthcare facilities and nurses have been slow to adopt them. Multiple reasons account for this lack of adoption, including lack of financial resources to purchase equipment and training for health professions to learn to use the equipment.

To address this significant problem in healthcare, an interprofessional team of faculty composed of Drs. Kermit Davis (Professor, Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences in the College of Medicine), Susan Kotowski (Professor, Department of Rehabilitation, Exercise, and Nutrition Sciences in the College of Allied Health Sciences), Carolyn Smith (Associate Dean for Research in the College of Nursing), and Robin Wagner (Professor and Simulation Director in the College of Nursing) created the SafeMoves Simulation Lab.

On March 4, 2024, the team hosted an open house attended by the deans for the Colleges of Medicine, Allied Health Sciences, and Nursing. In addition, the open house was attended by UC’s Provost Valerio Ferme and Dean Ezekiel Mbao, who was visiting from Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. At the open house, both Provost Ferme and Dean Mbao served as patients or caregivers as the equipment was being demonstrated.

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to learn more about SaveMoves Simulation Lab or our strategic partnership with Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, please let us know. I’d be happy to meet with you!

In this biweekly message, I’d like to thank Drs. Ann Gakumo, associate dean for inclusion and community impact, and Krista Maddox, sr. assistant dean for student affairs. Both have made positive efforts for promoting the inclusion and mental health of our students.

Dr. Gakumo organized a series of training sessions and dialogues known as Leading for Inclusion Dialogues (LIDS). The initial training sessions took place last summer with the college’s Senior Leadership Team. Topics for the sessions varied and included roadblocks to critical conversations, improving inclusive engagement, and checking and leveraging one’s privilege to promote college inclusion. These sessions allowed me to self-reflect and promote more effective and inclusive leadership. A new round of LIDS training sessions is being planned for the college’s program leaders. I look forward to the impact these efforts will have in our college and for student success.

Dr. Maddox facilitated a Mental Health First Aid workshop for the college. Over a dozen faculty and staff leaders including myself attended the full-day workshop. A key purpose of the training was to “provide high quality, evidence-based education so everyone has the first aid skills to support people with mental health challenges.” The training was remarkable and complemented the other mental health support for the college. Dr. Maddox also led efforts to hire a full-time mental health counselor that will be housed in Procter Hall for the purpose of providing mental health services and support for nursing and online students. This position is expected to begin in the Fall semester. 

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you have additional changes that could improve your work or student experience, please let us know. I’d be happy to meet with you!

In my communication on Jan. 24 regarding the revision of a problematic syllabus policy, I failed to provide important details and context. I want to correct that omission and offer my sincere apologies. 

The syllabus policy restricting wigs and head coverings was originally identified as an issue by Professor Deasa Dorsey, who advocated for its removal. In my previous communication, I neglected to name Professor Dorsey or acknowledge her vital role in identifying and addressing this policy. That was a mistake on my part, and I sincerely apologize to Professor Dorsey and all who were troubled by that omission.

Instances like this shed light on a broader pattern within academia where the critical advocacy work performed by faculty and staff of color often goes unrecognized. This renders their labor invisible and is a reflection of systemic issues of inequity that I am committed to addressing as a leader of this college. 

I want to thank Professor Dorsey for her courage and leadership in identifying the problematic policy, pushing for needed changes, and continuing to advocate for students. Her example inspires me to be a more thoughtful leader.

There is still much work to be done to build a truly equitable institution. With advocates like Professor Dorsey and the goodwill of colleagues across this college, I believe we can get there.

Please reach out to me if you would like to discuss this further. I view this as an opportunity for us to grow in understanding and accountability.

In early January, we became aware of a syllabus policy in a nursing laboratory course prohibiting students from wearing wigs. Some student-focused policies are based on the policies of our hospital partners such as professional attire, body piercings, and other practices for infection control (e.g., not having long nails). In clinical laboratory courses, students are asked to dress as though they are in the clinical setting. Specific to the use of wearing wigs, the syllabus policy was not in alignment with the college’s uniform policy. I would like to thank Dr. Jeanine Goodin, BSN program director, for quickly updating the language in the course syllabus once she became aware of a student’s concern with the policy.

There are many reasons why a student would wear a wig or head covering, ranging from alopecia through a cultural practice. At the college, we strive to promote cultural inclusion and belonging and I am happy to report that our system of reporting and accountability is working. We are listening to our students and addressing their needs. We encourage our students and their allies to continue to offer their recommendations to create an inclusive learning environment.

Martin Luther King Jr. is probably the most well-known activist for human rights in the United States. In addition to his contributions advocating for the civil rights of African-American/Black persons in the U.S., Dr. King advocated against the use of nuclear weapons, against the Vietnam War, and for union representation and workers’ rights. The impact of Dr. King’s work led to the adoption of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.  

Human rights advocacy can take many forms. Advocacy through legislative testimony can be demonstrated by testifying to a state legislature on the rights of healthcare workers to work in a setting free from assault by patients and their visitors. Advocacy through clinical practice can be demonstrated by screening patients for human trafficking and then connecting them to law enforcement. Advocacy through education can be demonstrated by assuring that all adults have access to higher education and the necessary resources to matriculate to graduation.  

As the weekend leading up to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday approaches, I encourage everyone to consider their role in human rights. Will you advocate in health policy, advocate with your patient population, advocate for educational access, or advocate in another area? Whatever you decide, act on it. Be a leader that contributes to the transformation of our society to one that exhibits basic human rights to all persons in all settings.  

In January of this year, I provided several commitments on behalf of the college in order to promote greater inclusivity and student belonging. One of these commitments was: “all policies and procedures owned by the College of Nursing will be reviewed by December 2023.” The review process, intended to identify and dismantle structural barriers, has been extensive. As a collective, the college’s Committee for Equity and Inclusive Excellence (CEIE) and Senior Leadership Team completed their review of more than 700 pages of related documents in November. Over the last two weeks, students, staff and faculty members from the CEIE met with the Senior Leadership Team and the groups discussed proposed changes to the policies and procedures. A summary of the proposed changes will be made available to faculty and staff on Bearcats Landing's DEI page and on Canvas for students.

With the start of the spring semester, the college's Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Impact, Dr. Ann Gakumo, and I will host a series of focus group sessions with members of our college community, particularly with students. The purpose of these sessions is to solicit feedback on the proposed changes. In addition, several of our leaders for the college’s student-led organizations will be reviewing the policies over the winter break, their feedback also will be incorporated into the focus group sessions for discussion.

As a collective, the college recognizes the importance of soliciting broad feedback in a transparent fashion. For those unable to attend a focus group session, we will continue to keep the comment portal open for public comment. We also will provide a summary of the focus group discussions upon request.

As the focus group sessions conclude, we will distribute the summary of recommendations to the respective groups (e.g., Student Affairs Council, BSN program faculty) who oversee each policy/procedure. We will be vigilant in assuring that recommendations are discussed and formal decisions are made for adoption, revision, etc. with the respective groups

Changing policies, which are embedded in our everyday structures, takes time. The timeline to see the effect of our changes will vary — while some policy changes could yield an immediate impact for inclusivity and student belonging, some changes could take years (e.g., graduating a more diverse student body). For this process, we are committed to making changes that remove barriers for our students and promote their success. I appreciate the efforts provided by members of the CEIE and Senior Leadership Team to allow the college’s commitment to come to fruition!

Thank you for taking time to read this Dean’s Message. If you would like to be actively involved in the policy and procedure review process, please contact Sharon Geiger (sharon.geiger@uc.edu). To learn about other activities the College is doing to promote student inclusivity and belongingness, please contact me. I’d be happy to meet with you!

This semester I’ve been teaching a doctoral elective called “Theories of Violence.” Our upcoming module is focused on the rationale and justification for violence. While I do not condone violence, it is important to understand why violence occurs so that effective prevention efforts can be implemented. Several reasons were provided for violence in the readings for this module including violence being in our human nature, jealousy, restoration of lost honor, retaliation, and moral imperative to protect a particular group of people. Among the theories explaining violence was the power-threat perspective, which asserts that as people of a minority group gain power, people of the dominant group will feel threatened and act aggressively towards people of the minority group. The aggressive acts can include dehumanizing people of the minority group. For example, the dominant group members may refer to the minority group members as animals, objects, beasts, or being dirty. These references are meant to dehumanize the persons making it seem more legitimate and justifiable for the aggressive actions to take place.

Over the last few years, there has been growing violence against persons based on their race, religion, gender and sexual orientations, and country of origin. The violence has exploded over the last few months. As you go about your everyday lives, I ask that you consider how you will respond when you witness these negative behaviors. I ask that you serve as an upstander, not a bystander. A bystander is the person who witnesses the aggression and takes no action. This lack of action can be perceived as condoning the negative behaviors. An upstander is the person who stands up, literally, and speaks against the negative behaviors. The upstander represents our motto of UC Nurses, We See Leaders. Be a Leader. Represent nursing as a professional and respected discipline.

The College's MSN in Nursing Education program has been approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Given the anticipated retirement of half a million nurse faculty members across the U.S., this program was established to make a meaningful contribution to the nursing workforce shortage. Increasing the number of nurse faculty members to help recruit, prepare, and graduate at least 200,000 students per year is critical to maintain the current nursing workforce numbers, which is already working understaffed.

Our new MSN in Nursing Education is a 100% online post-bachelor’s degree program composed of 30 credit-hours. Graduates from this program will be prepared to teach nursing students in didactic, online, and clinical settings. In addition to learning master’s-level concepts in MSN core courses, graduates will become experts in the pedagogy of nursing education, specifically learner-centered teaching, curriculum design and student assessment, instructional technology for learner-centered teaching, online simulation, emerging technologies in health care, and the professorial role in nursing education.

While there were many persons involved in the creation of the program, I want to call out several individuals who were particularly responsible for the its development: Melanie Kroger-Jarvis (program director), Richard Prior, Jamie Heck, Evelyn Fleider, Angie Cook, and Tracy Kilfoil.

A post-COVID-19 world is challenging for everyone, particularly our students who have a multitude of competing demands. A few examples of these competing demands are personal care-giving for children and parents, working externally in order to pay for tuition and books, and finding time to rest and sleep.

The College strives to support our students to assure they are retained and matriculate to graduation to become registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, nurse leaders, and nurse scientists. Some of the services that we provide are emergency funds/scholarships, individualized academic plans, one-on-one advising, peer mentoring, peer tutoring, a bridge program, and mental health support from licensed counselors.

If you would like to make a contribution to our emergency scholarship fund, you can contact Matt Pearce, assistant VP of development. If you would like to serve as a professional mentor to one of our nursing students, please contact Krista Maddox, sr. assistant dean for student affairs.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean’s Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the college and our plans for growth, new programs, and student belonging, please let me know!

During my years as a faculty member and associate dean at the college, I had heard that issues of racism, sexism, and discrimination had been addressed and that all had been improved. While conducting my listening sessions with students last fall, I found that the problems continued and were impacting the ability for some students to succeed.

In order to gain an understanding of the complexities of bias and discrimination in the college, I purposefully sought professional development in this area. I started by completing a graduate course called “Diversity and Organization Structure” through the University of Denver, followed by several additional continuing education programs focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. While I completed about 50 hours of professional development in this area, members of the college’s senior leadership team completed another 185 hours of professional development. Altogether and inclusive of college staff members, 548 hours of education focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion were completed. This statistic reflects the remarkable commitment of our college leaders and staff members to better understand and identify issues related to bias and discrimination in all of its forms.

Topics for education and training completed by the college leaders and staff members were not restricted to race or racism. As a collective, we studied inclusive practices related to addressing neurocognitive diversity, ableism, sexism, and genderism. Other training sessions focused on improving admissions, teaching, and hiring practices for a diverse student, staff, and faculty body.

Our college commitment extends beyond learning. We continue to be proactive to identify policies, procedures, and other practices that can be modified to assure diversity, equity, and inclusion for all of our college constituents regardless of personal identities (e.g., military status, first generation status, gender, sexual orientation, physical/sensory/cognitive ability, race, country of origin, and others).

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean’s Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the college and our plans for growth, new programs, and student belonging, please let me know!

During the previous academic year, I met with multiple constituent groups (e.g., student organizations, staff work units). Based on the listening sessions, I noted 53 action items to yield a more inclusive college culture that will promote student, staff and faculty success.

This list of 53 action items has been shared with the senior leadership team, who have taken ownership of making significant progress to addressing these action items. For example, I have convened a student leaders’ council and will meet at least once per semester with the student leaders. The purpose of the meetings will be to garner their input on the college’s strategic plans as well as their recommendations for further college improvements. To promote a sense of college community, Tracy Kilfoil, our business officer, will establish trivia night events. Faculty, staff and students will be invited. The college will provide snacks, beverages and prizes. Sharon Geiger, assistant to the dean, will create an organizational chart displaying staff member pictures, their roles and their responsibilities to allow faculty, staff and students to more quickly identify the person to whom they need to connect.

Some items have already been achieved or are in active development. Prior to the start of fall term, the multicultural lounge opened. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony is being planned. Dr. Ann Gakumo, associate dean for inclusion and community impact, is working with UC and Cincinnati Public Schools to develop a college-level CPS Strong initiative for the recruitment of more applicants from our local public school system. We also are looking for classroom space in nearby buildings that have natural lighting, which can accommodate our large courses.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean's Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the college and our plans for growth, new programs and student belonging, please let me know!

I am pleased to announce that our college restructure is fast underway into three departments: department of nursing, department of advanced practice nursing, and department of population health.

The department of nursing will house our BSN, RN to BSN, and accelerated direct-entry MSN programs. The department faculty elected Donna Green, PhD, MSN, RN, C-EFM, to serve as their initial department chair. Dr. Green obtained her BSN in 1999, MSN focused on nurse administration in 2013, and PhD in 2017 from UC. She started at UC in 2014 as an educational specialist and progressed to the rank of associate professor. She also has served as director of the BSN program, executive director of undergraduate and prelicensure programs, and most recently the interim associate dean for undergraduate and prelicensure programs. Her clinical expertise is in perinatal nursing.

The department of advanced practice nursing will house our nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia, and post master’s DNP programs. The department faculty elected Kim Mullins, DNP, APRN-BC, AOCNP, to serve as their inaugural department chair. Dr. Mullins obtained her BSN in 1991 and MSN adult nurse practitioner track in 2003 from UC, and her DNP in 2015 from Vanderbilt University. She started at UC in 2014 as an associate professor and later was appointed as the coordinator for the adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner distance learning program. She currently serves as the director for the adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program. Her clinical expertise is in radiation oncology.

The department of population health will house our organizational leadership, nurse educator, advanced public health nursing and occupational health nursing programs. The department faculty elected Melanie Kroger-Jarvis, DNP, CNS, RN, to serve as their maiden department chair. Dr. Kroger-Jarvis obtained her BSN in 1995 from Thomas More College, MSN as a clinical nurse specialist in adult medical-surgical nursing in 1992 and DNP in 2012 from UC. She started at UC in 2012 as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 2022. She most recently served as the director of the nurse educator program. Her clinical expertise is in urology.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean's Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the college and our plans for growth, new programs and student belonging, please let me know!

Dear faculty and staff,

Many of you, particularly those from our advanced practice programs, know of Christine Colella, DNP. During her tenure at UC, Christine rose through the ranks to become a professor of clinical nursing, the director of nurse practitioner programs, executive director of graduate programs and, ultimately, interim associate dean for graduate programs. She received extramural funding for her scholarship from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), along with several foundation awards as a collaborator. The interactive case studies from her HRSA grant have received national attention. Further, her demonstrated commitment to the profession of nursing and advanced practice nursing led to the receipt of several accolades. These include her receiving the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and being inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Although Christine retired from the college in August 2022, she continues practicing as an advanced practice nurse at the Lincoln Heights Health Center, a federally qualified health center.

Throughout her academic career, Christine has supported the work and contributions of advanced practice nurses. Advanced practice nurses include those practitioners licensed and/or certified as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Of note, advanced practice nurses provide advanced clinical care across the lifespan, as well as across all clinical settings from the hospital to clinic to community settings.

In honor of Christine and her many accomplishments while at UC, I established the Dr. Christine Colella Professorship Fund. This fund will provide support to our newly formed Department of Advanced Practice Nursing. I am now writing with the goal of endowing this professorship in Christine's honor. If you would like to contribute to this fund, donations can be made at: https://foundation.uc.edu/Colella

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean's Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the college and our plans for growth, new programs and student belonging, please let me know!

This week begins our new academic year. As we welcome our new and returning students, I’d like to share some comments about our commitment to student success.

Last week, the college held its annual faculty and staff retreat at the Cincinnati Nature Center. This full-day retreat focused on student success. It began with Royel Johnson, PhD, of the University of Southern California, discussing students and their multiple identities. He explained how faculty and staff can help students leverage those identities as strengths. Next, Dr. Johnson led a discussion on how to flip the common mindset in academia away from deficit thinking and into equity-based thinking. Finally, he led a dialogue and critical review of our course syllabi. This review examined how syllabi can become documents that students actually look to for guidance and support.

After lunch, faculty and staff moved into large groups for a series of case studies using a problem-based learning approach. The first case study focused on positionality and was led by Ann Gakumo, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Impact. The second case study focused on gender identity and was led by Matt Rota, Assistant Dean for Technology and Innovation, and Juan Lopez Rosado, Instructional Technologist. The third case study focused on hidden identities and was facilitated by Jamie Heck, Assistant Dean for Academic Support, and Krista Maddox, Sr. Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The fourth case study focused on faculty receiving student feedback and was facilitated by Rich Prior, Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dustin Muncy, Sr. Instructional Designer.

Our ongoing efforts to promote student success and a welcoming environment include our physical space and reporting system within Procter Hall. We now have a dedicated student kitchen area located in room 219. We also established a multicultural lounge in room 224-S. Both spaces are open and ready for student use. Finally, we established a formal reporting system whereby students, faculty and staff can report any incident of bias or discrimination. Reports will be investigated within three business days. More details and a form to submit a report are available at nursing.uc.edu/bias-reporting.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean’s Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the College and our plans for growth, new programs, and student belonging, please let me know!

With the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on not using race as a criterion for admission, we need to consider our ongoing strategies to ensure a diverse pool of student applicants. Among our current criteria for the direct-entry BSN program is standardized testing. The state of the science shows us that requiring standardized testing could help assure that students with high standardized test scores will be successful in our rigorous program. However, it also creates a bias toward applicants with the financial resources to pay for examination preparatory courses and those who would have attended private high schools. For those applicants with lesser financial resources, standardized testing becomes a barrier to applying to our direct-entry BSN program. We previously recognized that science shows that standardized testing is not predictive of student success in graduate programs. As a result, our graduate programs no longer require standardized testing.

During this next academic year, we will examine our internal data to determine how predictive, if at all, standardized testing is for student success. Additional considerations I will explore with our faculty are the removal of standardized testing, or at minimum, consider running a one-year pilot without requiring standardized testing. Upon the eventual removal of a standardized testing requirement, I am committed to providing resources to assure student success.

Rafael Walker in The Chronicle of Higher Education described an alternative method to evaluate an applicant’s potential for success without using standardized testing. He recommended applicants discuss their ability to be resourceful. This construct can serve as a perfect predictor to determine applicants’ ability to overcome the inherent challenges of a nursing program through their ability to adapt and persevere — essentially, to be resourceful.

We will keep you informed on the outcomes of our ongoing discussions with faculty about our admissions criteria, particularly standardized tests.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean’s Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the College and our plans for growth, new programs, and student belonging, please let me know!

Beginning in 1951, UC College of Nursing became accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. In 2001, the college changed its accreditor to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's (AACN) Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It's now time for the college to again explore an alternative accreditor. We are officially applying for pre-accreditation status with the NLN's Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA) for our post-licensure graduate programs. Our undergraduate and prelicensure programs will continue with the current accreditor.

There are three primary reasons for our college decision. First and foremost is our commitment to providing graduate education at both the master’s and doctoral levels. Should we remain with our current accreditor, we would need to supplant our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. As a holder of both MSN and DNP degrees, I personally recognize the value of both graduate program pathways. However, not all nurses have the time and financial resources to allocate toward a doctoral degree. As a result, removing the MSN option for nurses would disenfranchise a portion of our nursing workforce from the ability to become advanced practice nurses or nurse leaders. Thus, their ability to garner upward mobility would be stalled.

Second, our current accreditor is focused on assuring that the essentials of graduate nursing practice are leveled at the doctoral degree. Should we remain with our current accreditor and attempt to maintain MSN programs, we would be required to modify our MSN schemas, resulting in considerably increased credit hours, time and costs for students to complete an MSN program. This is not an equitable option for us to consider.

A third reason for our choice to change accreditors for our graduate, post-licensure programs is to allow innovation. The graduate (doctoral) essentials prescribed by AACN are prescriptive and limit our ability to continue delivering a curriculum that allows us to graduate nurses who can transform healthcare of the future. We need to align our graduate curricula with an accreditor that respects and honors the MSN pathway while also allowing us to be innovative in how the scholarly projects of our doctoral students are implemented.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean's Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the College and our plans for growth, new programs, and student belonging, please let me know!

In May 2023, 14 undergraduate students, three faculty members — Kate York, Jeff Trees and Deasa Dorsey — and I traveled to Tanzania, Africa, as part of a community health nursing clinical experience. The bulk of the program was spent in a mountain village near Lushoto where our group joined seven Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU) undergraduate nursing students, who also were there for their community health nursing clinical experience.

The students learned to conduct home, school health and community assessments. While some resources available in the village were sparse at times, there were many similarities between this village and that of rural settings within the U.S. Debriefings focused on these similarities and differences between our two health care systems (e.g., care of patients with tuberculosis, cesarean delivery). Prior to leaving the Lushoto region, our students developed educational programs (e.g., stop the bleed) and trained the HKMU nursing students on the content. The HKMU nursing students will provide this education to the local village students after our departure.

The students and I were humbled by our experiences within the Tanzanian community. I was most impressed with the students’ ability to adapt to a new environment (e.g., sleeping atop mattresses on the floor, two-to-three students per mattress; using squat toilets; bathing using water from a bucket); trying new foods; and quickly learning new words in Swahili.

I am pleased to announce that after our group arrived in Dar es Salaam, we were able to formalize a partnership with HKMU College of Nursing. Dr. York was instrumental in helping to establish this partnership that has been in development for the past 2 years. This partnership will include research collaboration, educational programming and support for KHMU clinical instructors to obtain their PhD. I look forward to this partnership yielding an increase in our extramural funding and articles published by our faculty with faculty from HKMU.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Dean’s Message. As always, if you would like to meet and discuss the state of the college and our plans for growth, new programs and student belonging, please let me know!

As the interim dean for the College of Nursing, I personally value an environment where everyone feels included. A sense of belonging is crucial for students to focus on their scholarly pursuits and graduate to become registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, and other nursing scholars. In fulfillment of a promise I made in January towards promoting an inclusive environment, Dr. Royel Johnson, an expert in this area, has agreed to host a workshop focused on cultural awareness, sensitivity, and competence at the college’s annual faculty and staff retreat.

A potential impact to the college’s ongoing commitment to inclusive programming is the May 17 passage of the Enact Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act (S.B. 83) by the Ohio Senate, which now sits with the Ohio House of Representatives. A provision of S.B. 83 is section 3345.0217(B)(1), which in its current version would prohibit mandatory training on diversity, equity and inclusion. While the college will continue to monitor for the impact of the legislation, the senior leadership team and I will continue moving forward with education and programming focused on student belonging. This training will feature video vignettes, discussions and action plan to promote student belonging across all personal identities.

Another commitment made during my January address to students was that a review of our student-focused policies and procedures would take place. The documents, 58 in total, are now being reviewed by the UC Office of Equity & Inclusion. After we receive their recommendations, the college’s Committee for Equity and Inclusive Excellence along with students will have an opportunity to provide additional feedback. I anticipate the Senior Leadership Team to begin approving revised documents during late Fall semester. Given the college's shared governance structure, some policies and procedures also will be reviewed and approved by program faculty.