Monday, March 10, 2014

Widener University Announces the Appointment of Three Academic Deans

Chester, Pa.—Widener University announces the appointment of deans to three of its eight schools and colleges following nationwide searches.

Dr. Stephen C. Wilhite, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Widener, announced the appointment of Dr. Laura Dzurec as dean of the School of Nursing, Dr. Shawn Fitzgerald as dean of the School of Education, Innovation, and Continuing Studies, and Dr. Sharon Meagher as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. All three will assume their new positions at Widener on July 1, 2014.

“We are very fortunate to appoint three deans with a strong commitment to and demonstrated record of promoting leadership, global awareness and civic engagement, all of which are major components of Widener’s mission,” Wilhite said. “Individually, they are respected leaders in their fields and within the institutions they currently serve, and we are proud to welcome them to the Widener community.”

Dzurec served as dean of the College of Nursing at Kent State University from 2006 to August 2013, and is currently professor of nursing at the university. Prior to Kent State, she was dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Connecticut for six years, following appointments at the University of Maine and the Oregon Health Sciences University.

At Kent State, Dzurec helped establish a focus on self-care, wellness and mindfulness as a means of thematically organizing the faculty’s endeavors in teaching, research and community outreach. She was also significantly involved in Kent State’s strategic efforts to enhance diversity and promote globally-oriented programming. A respected leader in the profession, she serves as an adviser to the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society.
As a faculty member, Dzurec’s area of focus is on psychiatric and mental health nursing, family nursing and health policy, with a recent research focus on workplace bullying.

Dzurec earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Connecticut, a master’s in nursing from The Ohio State University, and her doctorate Ph.D. in nursing from Case Western Reserve University.

Fitzgerald has directed the School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration at Kent State University since 2009, providing leadership to 10 programs including, among others, educational administration, higher education administration, evaluation and measurement, hospitality management, and recreation, parks, and tourism management. He also provided leadership for the college’s Professional Development and Outreach Office, the Office of Distance Learning and has been extensively involved in the recruitment of international students.

As a leader in the development of online and hybrid course offerings at Kent State, Fitzgerald launched a hybrid, cohort degree program for the evaluation and measurement master’s program that resulted in a 400 percent increase in enrollment in two years and the program’s recognition as an exemplary innovative program by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Prior to becoming director of the school at Kent State, Dr. Fitzgerald served for 10 years there as director of the Measurement and Evaluation Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lebanon Valley College, a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Toledo, and a doctorate in Applied Educational Research, Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics from the University of Toledo.

Meagher comes to Widener from the University of Scranton, where she has served since 2009 as founding chairperson of the Department of Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies. She is also a leader in the Scranton community, serving as the founding president of the Mulberry Central Neighborhood Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to coordinating services and development activities in the city’s hill section.

An advocate for the public relevance of philosophy, she co-founded the Public Philosophy Network to facilitate collaboration among philosophers engaged in public work. She has also edited two books, and is nearing completion of a book titled “Philosophical Streetwalking: Grounding Philosophy in Public Life.”

In her leadership roles at Scranton, Meagher helped develop short-term global study programs, co-facilitated Scranton’s faculty sustainability workshop which assists faculty in integrating sustainability issues across the curriculum, and developed an interdisciplinary capstone seminar titled “Working for Justice” to help students think critically about economic sectors and how they might become social change leaders.

Meagher earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and sociology from Boston College and a doctorate in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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