Faculty Profiles

Our faculty are active researchers, writers and speakers; many of them internationally known for their contributions toward the advancement of their fields of study. But, most of all, they're passionate, caring teachers.

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    Kathleen Bell EdD, RN, PHN

    Associate Professor, Nursing

    It is my honor and pleasure to work with the nursing students in various programs at St. Catherine University. My role involves teaching with the BSN, MSNL, Nurse Educator, and DNP students. As a healthcare educational leader with over 20 years of experience in higher education, I possess an expansive knowledge of course and program development and assessment, leadership with supervisory experience, internal and external partnership and alliance initiatives, diverse team building, fiscal responsibility with institutional and grant budgets, nursing and healthcare accreditation, and a diligent dedication to meeting the needs of students, faculty, administration, and stakeholders.

  • Vaness Hargens, LPN, RN

    Assistant Professor

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    Emily W. Nowak PhD, RN, CNE

    Interim Assistant Dean for Online Nursing & Director- MSN: Nurse Educator - Professor

    Professor Nowak is the Interim Assistant Dean for Online Nursing in the School of Nursing as well as the Program Director for the MSN: Nurse Educator program of study. She is a full Professor serving the St. Catherine community since 2009. Dr. Nowak completed a PhD at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and her BAN from the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University). As an undergraduate alum of the baccalaureate nursing program, Professor Nowak fully embraces the St. Catherine mission and values. Her work at St. Catherine has largely focused on developing and implementing nursing curriculum to reflect the rapidly changing landscapes of healthcare and education.

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    Katherine Tolcser, MA, RN

    Assistant Professor, Nursing

    Katherine has worked as a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit RN at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital since 2008. In 2012, Katherine completed her Master's Degree in Nursing Education through St. Catherine University. She began teaching at St. Catherine University the following fall in 2013 in the Baccalaureate Degree Program in the College for Women. During her time at St. Catherine University she has primarily taught in Pathophysiology, Pediatric, and Pharmacology courses.
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  • Rebecca Carlson, APRN, CPNP-PC

    Assistant Professor, Nursing

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    Renee Colsch, PhD, RN, SCRN, CQ

    Associate Professor, Nursing

    Renee Colsch has a passion and specialty in the area of neuroscience nursing. Her professional experience includes acute care nursing in the intensive care unit, emergency room, and the United States Air Force deployment in Balad Iraq, 2007. She teaches courses in undergraduate and graduate pathophysiology, leadership and serves as a DNP student mentor. She views the teacher as the facilitator of learning. Her teaching focuses on cultural awareness and sensitivity, holistic nursing, bringing technology into the classroom and practice, evidence-based practice, research, learning, and retention.

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    Matthew Byrne, PhD, RN, CNE

    Adjunct Faculty

    I am passionate about improving the technologies used by nurses and patients in both the clinical and educational contexts. My research focus in in the areas of Nursing Informatics, notably clinical decision support, UX/UI design and workflows. In terms of nursing education my focus is on instructional technology and educational analytics. My clinical "home base" is perianesthesia nursing and I serve as a reviewer and columnist for the Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, serve on their Ed Board and publish in several perianesthesia texts.
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    Grace Gao, PhD, DNP, RN-BC, LHIT-HP, RWJF Future of Nursing Scholar Alumni

    Associate Professor, Department of Nursing

    Grace Gao earned her DNP degree in Nursing Informatics and Integrative Health, and PhD in Nursing from University of Minnesota. In addition, Grace is a public health nurse and ANCC certified Informatics Nurse. Grace has worked in a variety of roles in both public and private sectors across extensive health care settings, including case manager in home care, care plan coordinator in long-term care, staff nurse in hospital, nurse educator in the academic setting, and clinical informatics specialist and consultant.

    Grace’s nursing experiences showcase expertise in public health, nursing informatics, and integrative health.

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    Susan Martinson, MA RN

    Assistant Professor, Nursing

    I have been at St Catherine University for over 40 years, teaching at various levels in the nursing program. My primary teaching responsibilities have included both didactic and clinical teaching, in both the College for Women and College for Adults. Most of my clinical experience is in adult medical-surgical nursing, but also have extensive experience in telephone triage. My education includes University of Wisconsin - Madison where I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN) and St Catherine University where I earned a Master's Degree in Nursing, with a focus in Nursing Education.