New deans of computing, nursing will begin work in July

May 14, 2024 (Volume 47, Number 18)

New deans of Grand Valley's computing and nursing colleges were named recently and both leaders will begin working on campus in July.

Marouane Kessentini will lead the new College of Computing. Kessentini now serves the University of Michigan-Flint as the Winegarden professor and associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Innovation and Technology. Linda Lewandowski, who most recently worked at the University of Toldedo as professor and dean of nursing, vice provost for Health Affairs and executive director for University Health Services, will lead the Kirkhof College of Nursing.

Read more about Kessentini and Lewandowski below.

New dean of computing joins GVSU panel to welcome international delegates
As an international delegation of business leaders toured the Shape Corp. Innovation Design Center last week, one of the newest members of the GVSU community was there to greet them.

Marouane Kessentini, the recently appointed dean of the College of Computing, joined President Philomena V. Mantella; Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering; and Jonathan Engelsma, professor of computing and director of the Applied Computing Institute to welcome more than 50 delegates touring Michigan as part of the Americas Competitiveness Exchange

During the delegates’ stop at the IDC, Kessentini, Plotkowski and Engelsma discussed during a panel what makes Grand Valley one of the keystones for Grand Rapids’ expanding tech industry.

Kessentini said the College of Computing will reinforce one of Grand Valley’s strongest commitments to its students: experiential learning.

“Typically, universities exist to create knowledge and train the workforce,” Kessentini said. “Public institutions like GVSU exist because we value knowledge exchange, which is different from knowledge creation.

“We can have faculty developing curriculum, that knowledge creation, based on whatever they're excited or curious about. But with knowledge exchange, you need to bring partners to the table, thinking about how we should develop our curriculum in a way that we prepare our students.”

Kessentini said the experiential learning that GVSU students gain extends beyond the technical knowhow for them to succeed in the workforce. 

“GVSU shows in action how we are very successful in preparing talented graduates who have the right skills, not just from the technical side, but also from leadership, communications and soft skills,” Kessentini said. “Through these opportunities and by exposing students to real-world problems in the classrooms, in internships and through undergrad research experience, they become independent learners. One day they will be the agents of that knowledge exchange as well.”

Q&A with Linda Lewandowski

You are returning to your Michigan roots, correct?
Yes, I grew up in Owosso and Corunna, near Flint. I was a first-generation college student at the University of Michigan.

What drew you to nursing?
I have always wanted to be a nurse. I'm a caretaking type of person. I also wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. Then I had an epiphany that I could do it all: nurse, teacher and researcher.

What excites you about working at Grand Valley and leading KCON?
Grand Valley is a university on the move. It's forward-thinking, innovative and has ambitious leadership who are focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. I'm also amazed by the nursing faculty. They continued to lead, teach and seek out research projects even during the leadership transitions.

How will you spend your first months on campus?
There will be a lot of me listening and learning more about Grand Valley and its stakeholders. I'll schedule a lot of meetings with faculty, staff, area community colleges, practice partners and other constituents. We will need to further enhance our strategic plan, and articulate a shared vision with faculty and staff.

How will KCON continue to attract students into nursing?
By continuing to increase our visibility and telling our story of how the alumni of our undergraduate and graduate programs are making a huge impact on the health of our communities. There is such a need for nurses. It's been documented many times that patient outcomes are higher when they are under the care of nurses who have bachelor's degrees. There are roles in health care for nurses who have an associate degree. But we need to educate students — and their families — about how crucial earning a bachelor's degree in nursing is. It's a path to leadership roles in addition to the impact it has on patient outcomes. The need for nurse practitioners is growing also and presents a growth opportunity for nurses.



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This article was last edited on May 14, 2024 at 1:8 p.m.

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