Pierce named interim chair of Department of Nursing

Huntington, Ind.—Huntington University has named Dr. Pat Pierce as interim chair of the Department of Nursing. Pierce’s husband, Dr. Ed Pierce, also has been retained to assist her with the development of the new academic program.

“The Pierces bring a wealth of knowledge as they have both been involved with teaching and administration in nursing and medical schools,” said Dr. Norris Friesen, vice president and dean of the University. “We are grateful they have agreed to work with us.”

Pat Pierce recently retired from her position at Indiana University-South Bend where she served as assistant professor of nursing and director of graduate education. When Ed Pierce retired he was serving Gannon University in Erie, Pa., as associate provost for research and sponsored programs.

The Pierces will help the University initiate the processes for a baccalaureate nursing program that meets the accreditation standards of the Indiana State Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This includes, in part, developing a nursing curriculum, arranging for clinical facilities, assisting in the recruitment of a department chair and faculty, and assisting in the development of the lab.

“The challenge of the opportunity was very enticing as is the opportunity to develop some of my own ideas about nursing education,” Pat Pierce said.

In addition to her work at IU-South Bend, Pat Pierce has taught at the University of Massachusetts at Worcester, Widener University in Chester, Pa.; University of Delaware in Newark, Del.; and Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

She earned her Doctor of Nursing Science and Master of Science in Nursing degrees from Indiana University in Indianapolis, Ind., and her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of New Hampshire.

“The excellent reputation of the institution, its mission and the positive things I learned from current and retired faculty” drew Pat to Huntington, she said. The University’s focus on educating students holistically – academically and spiritually – also appealed to her.

“There is very little more important than assisting people from a holistic frame of reference,” she said. “People are more than the sum of their parts and the ‘parts’ interact in a dynamic fashion, making the nurse’s work successful only when the whole person is considered. Faith is often a very important issue when people find they are faced with difficulties. Nurses who have an understanding of the relationship between faith and health are better able to provide holistic care.”

With an extensive administrative background in health sciences, Ed Pierce will help develop the infrastructure and supportive services for the nursing program. He will focus his efforts on accreditation requirements having to do with patient safety and helping the University develop appropriate resources, policies and procedures.

“I chose to take on this opportunity because it is always exciting to be present at the creation of a new academic program,” Ed Pierce said. “I have been privileged to have had that opportunity previously in my academic administrative career, and it is hard to convey to others fully the joy of seeing students preparing for a life of service in a program which you and your colleagues helped bring into being.”

In addition to his positions as associate provost for research and sponsored programs and professor of biology at Gannon University, he also served as the dean of the College of Sciences, Engineering, and Health Sciences at Gannon.

He earned his Ph.D. in zoology with a focus on genetics and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Louisville as well as a Master of Public Health from John Hopkins University.

“Educating for academic and spiritual development adds dimension to the practical side necessary for nursing and any life of meaningful inquiry and service,” Ed Pierce said. “The outcome of this holistic approach is a reflective generalist-practitioner, who upon deep reflection, can appreciate how skills are given meaning in serving our brothers and sisters in Christ and how information occupies a larger context of spiritual, cultural and historical tradition.”

The University intends to launch the nursing program in the fall of 2007, pending State Board approval. The Pierces will help the University develop the program through the spring semester.
Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


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