From IWU Magazine, Summer 2013 edition
From Students to Faculty
Four nursing alumnae have returned to their alma mater to teach
Text by KIM HILL
Photo by BEA CORBIN
From left, Susan (Winkler) Swanlund ’80, Vickie (Noltkamper) Folse ’86, Brenda (Deckert)
Lessen ’89 and Ann (Steele) Eckhardt ’03 currently serve on IWU's nursing faculty.
(Photo by Bea Corbin)
Ann (Steele) Eckhardt ’03 says her decision to return to Illinois Wesleyan as a professor
reflects the strong connection all of the nursing faculty feel to the University “and
our belief in the quality of the education we are providing.”
Eckhardt (shown above, far right) is one of four IWU alumnae who serve on the nursing faculty. The others are (from left) Susan (Winkler) Swanlund ’80, Vickie (Noltkamper) Folse ’86 and Brenda (Deckert)
The youngest of the group, Eckhardt recalls completing an honors research project
her senior year of college under Swanlund, who joined the faculty in 1995. “All of
my professors at IWU encouraged me to pursue graduate education,” says Eckhardt.
Folse, director of the School of Nursing, says a major goal of the program is to prepare
nursing majors for graduate study and future academic careers. That goal is especially
vital in light of the nation’s growing need for qualified faculty to prepare the next
generation of nurses. A recent report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
states: “Faculty shortages at nursing schools across the country are limiting student
capacity at a time when the need for nurses continues to grow.”
All full-time IWU nursing faculty have earned doctorates; it is an elite group, given
that less than one percent of all nurses have doctoral degrees. Eckhardt says as a
student she was impressed by her professors’ educational achievements as well as their
clinical experiences, which factored into her own choice to work after graduation
as a nurse prior to obtaining her doctoral degree at the University of Illinois at
Eckhardt adds that current students likely feel a specific connection to the alumni
faculty “because they recognize that we’ve been in their shoes. The chairs in Stevenson
103 might have been orange and yellow (when the alumni faculty were students), but
we spent time in their seats. We all believe strongly in IWU and want to ensure we
are sending our students to successful futures.”
To return to the main story, click here.
To view MORE PHOTOS FROM IWU MAGAZINE STORY ON SCHOOL OF nursing, click here.
To read about nursing student Collin Barr '15, click here.
To read about nursing student Jennifer Boll '14, click here.
To read about nursing student Jasmin Cole '13, click here.