DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Scranton Assistant Chief Academic Officer and Associate Teaching Professor of Nursing Michael Evans has accepted a high-profile position within the University’s College of Nursing.
Evans was recently promoted to assistant dean of undergraduate nursing education at the Commonwealth Campuses. He officially assumed his duties the week of Sept. 2.
In his new role, Evans will oversee the operations of the undergraduate nursing program at various Penn State campuses. Among other duties, he’ll ensure curricular consistency and quality across the campuses; assist in the development and implementation of effective strategies to recruit a diverse pool of high-quality students; and collaborate with faculty and administrators to fairly, promptly and effectively resolve student and faculty issues.
Despite the expansive responsibilities of the new job, Evans will remain based at Penn State Scranton, where he’ll continue to teach baccalaureate and graduate courses within the nursing program.
A Penn State Scranton alumnus, Evans said he’s enormously grateful for the opportunity, noting news of the promotion left him “excited, nervous, relieved and pretty much any other emotion you can think of all at once.”
“It was a tough decision for me to leave Penn State Scranton, as I was comfortable in my old job and enjoyed doing it,” he said. “But at the same time, I was excited for this new challenge. It was a tremendous help to me having the support of all my Scranton and College of Nursing colleagues as I begin this new journey.”
A full-time campus faculty member since 2008 and past recipient of the University College Teaching Award and the 2014 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, Evans said he began to keep an eye on job postings after his predecessor announced her departure from the University. Around mid-summer, he applied for the position.
“This was something that immediately interested me, as I will get to work with all the Commonwealth Campuses that offer undergraduate nursing programs as I strive to continue advancing nursing education across the state,” he said. “I feel as though I was academically and professionally prepared for the job. My role as a faculty member at the Scranton campus and my time as the assistant director of academic affairs helped prepare me for the responsibilities and challenges that lie ahead for me.”
Throughout the academic year, Evans will visit all Commonwealth Campuses that have a nursing program, as well as make several trips to University Park.
Among other goals he has for the position, Evans would like to increase the amount of student engagement from undergraduate nursing students across the campuses through promoting more co-curricular and research opportunities for them.
In addition, he’ll make it a point to “treat everyone with respect and fairness and make sure everyone feels valued and heard.
“I plan to be available for my colleagues as they strive to provide a first-class education to our students,” he said.
Evans received both his associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing from Penn State. He has a master’s degree in adult health with a sub-specialization in nursing education from Misericordia University, and another master’s in education with a focus in professional studies from Capella University. In 2016, he earned his doctorate nursing from Penn State.
Despite the demands of the new job, Evans stressed that he’ll still make time to teach three nursing courses per year. Meanwhile, he’ll continue holding weekly meetings with his research team, although much of his own research will now have to wait until the summer months, he said.
No doubt, Evans will be busier than ever. However, that suits him just fine, considering he’s getting the chance to serve the University’s mission on a bigger scale.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Evans said. “I can remain in the Penn State system and advance my career doing something that I love, while helping to advance our undergraduate programs to ensure we are delivering the highest quality educational experiences possible and graduating students that will lead our profession into the future.”