Dean's Updates

Sept. 20, 2023

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:

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

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.