St. Catherine University President ReBecca Koenig Roloff announced today that Laura Fero, PhD, MSN, RN has been chosen as the new Dean of Nursing in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. She will assume her role on June 15, 2019.
“The nursing program has been the bedrock of our academic offerings from the beginning,” said Roloff. “Equally foundational here is how we apply the liberal arts learning philosophy across every program – something Laura has built her academic career on and practiced as a nurse. She lives our philosophy every day. We are thrilled to welcome her to the University.”
Fero marries 16 years of academic experience with 11 years of nursing practice as she comes to St. Kate’s. She currently serves as the Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences/Director of Nursing at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. There, she designed, built, and implemented four new degree offerings and established the new May School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Under Fero’s leadership, the May School successfully transitioned to an online platform for their RN/BSN program, received approval for a 120-seat pre-licensure nursing program, established an emergency medical services and management program, and began a health and wellness science program. She also instituted a faculty and peer-mentoring program for students interested in health sciences.
“An institution has an obligation to educate in a holistic manner, which includes the mind, body, and spirit. I observed this many times in my visits to St. Kate’s,” said Fero. “I believe that it is only through this approach that we can shape the characteristics of leaders that advocate for social responsibility and opportunity. Critical thinkers are built through providing co-curricular opportunities in both the discipline-specific and liberal arts courses, something St. Kate’s is known for. This process facilitates emotional intelligence leading to reflective practices and lifelong learning. I can’t wait to get started.”
“Laura impressed us with her broad understanding of regional and national healthcare trends in patient care delivery sectors, and how she used her role at Lees-McCrae to bring together perspectives of their community constituents, administration, faculty, and students to set a strategy for manageable and sustainable growth of the division,” said Lynda Szymanski, Interim Provost, St. Catherine University. “Balancing the needs of the students and faculty while supporting an institution’s strategic mission is no small task, and Laura showed how she can do this without losing focus on the high-quality, outcome-driven standards our nursing program is known for nationally.”
Fero holds a doctorate of philosophy in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing. She received her master’s in nursing/business administration from the University of Phoenix and her bachelor’s in nursing from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include critical-thinking skills development for nursing students, nursing career pathways, and supportive health services. She also trademarked PREPARED for Practice, Research and Leadership in 2010, and co-authored the book Introduction to Care Coordination and Nursing Management. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the National League of Nursing.