drone photo of DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health on Michigan Avenue

New dean of nursing at GVSU will bring extensive leadership, research experience

Grand Valley Provost Fatma Mili announced the appointment of Linda Lewandowski as the new dean of the Kirkhof College of Nursing, effective July 6.

Lewandowski is a professor of nursing and former dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Toledo. She also served as the University of Toledo's vice provost for Health Affairs and executive director for University Health Services. 

Mili said Lewandowski brings to the position significant leadership and expertise in strategic planning, research, mentoring, active learning, interdisciplinary and online education.

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Lewandowski join KCON," Mili said. "She brings a broad and diverse experience, an impressive track record of transformational impact, and an enthusiasm to join KCON and build on its many strengths and standing in the community. I want to thank Amy Manderscheid, who has led the college as interim dean, and the KCON faculty and staff for their support during this transition."

Lewandowski said she is excited to return to her Michigan roots and family and to lead a college that is celebrating its 50th anniversary as leader in nursing education.

Linda Lewankowski standing and leaning against a tall chair, wearing a blue jacket with black shirt
Linda Lewandowski was appointed the new dean of the Kirkhof College of Nursing. She is pictured in the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

"Grand Valley is a university on the move," Lewandowski said. "It's forward-thinking, innovative, has ambitious leadership and a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The more I learned about it, I thought, 'This sounds like a place where I could lead and collaborate on great things, while creating a future around the provost's and president's plans.' 

"I have enjoyed the people I have met. It's apparent the faculty, staff and administration are very caring and united in the cause of being student-centered."

Lewandowski is a first-generation college student who earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Michigan. She then earned a master's degree in pediatric critical care nursing from the University of California, San Francisco; master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychology at Yale University.

"I've always wanted to be a nurse. I'm a caretaking type of person," Lewandowski said. "Next, I wanted to be a teacher. Then I had an epiphany that I could do it all: nurse, teacher and researcher."

An accomplished and widely published researcher, Lewandowski's scholarship focuses on toxic stress, violence and cumulative trauma associated with the social determinants of health. She co-developed the Cumulative Trauma Scale, a 32-item scale designed to assess and treat the psychological and physiological symptoms caused by trauma. The scale has since been translated into six languages for use worldwide.

KCON students, faculty and community members are familiar with the GVSU Simulation Center , a 68,000-square-foot facility on the Health Campus. Lewandowski praised the center and said she looks forward to learning more about the interprofessional, state-of-the-art facility, noting it will play a prominent role in student recruitment and retention.

"I was impressed by the center's use of standard patients and great facilities. The coming of  artificial intelligence and virtual reality combined with the center’s equipment and personnel are game changers," she said. "We know we need more nurses but our growth may be hampered by the ability to get into clinical sites. This is not a replacement for clinical education, but it certainly extends our ability to educate students."

Prior to joining the University of Toledo's faculty in 2017, Lewandowski served as associate dean for Academic Affairs and graduate program director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing; assistant dean of nursing at Wayne State University with a joint appointment at Children’s Hospital of Michigan as the Elizabeth Schotanus endowed associate professor of pediatric nursing; and held academic posts at Johns Hopkins and Yale universities.


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