The University of St. Thomas’ Morrison Family College of Health took another step toward launching its School of Nursing today when it named Dr. Martha Scheckel as its founding director.
Scheckel, a community and public health nursing expert, is currently dean of the College of Nursing, Health and Human Behavior at Viterbo University in Wisconsin. She officially begins her new role at St. Thomas on Oct. 19.
The School of Nursing will offer a curriculum aimed at showing students how to address health disparities and change the systems that produce them. The school expects to start accepting applications in fall 2021 in advance of its first class in fall 2022.
“Martha was the top candidate after a very thorough search,” said Dr. MayKao Hang, the founding dean of the Morrison Family College of Health. “Aside from the academic and practice skills required to be a founding director, we needed a leader who views their vocation as service to society’s most disadvantaged people. Martha is a leader, practitioner, scholar and teacher who understands we must address social, cultural and economic conditions if we’re to create and sustain healthy communities.”
Scheckel will work to implement the college’s holistic vision at the School of Nursing. Specifically, the school’s curriculum will be designed to educate students to treat the whole person – mind, body, spirit and community – and promote health and wellness.
“I could not be more excited and honored to serve as the founding director of nursing at the University of St. Thomas,” Scheckel said. “The Morrison Family College of Health's focus on re-imagining care for the whole person, while contributing to addressing nursing workforce needs, captures the purpose of the nursing profession.”
At Viterbo, Scheckel has provided academic leadership for mental health counseling, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, psychology, social work and criminal justice. She has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years, including 17 years of nursing practice experience predominantly in community and public health settings.
That experience makes her an ideal fit at St. Thomas, where the Morrison Family College of Health encompasses a breadth of programs in social work, graduate psychology, public health and health sciences, in addition to the upcoming undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The college also takes a unique approach to educating students by partnering with other programs across the university, including the business of health care program at the Opus College of Business and data analytics at the School of Engineering.