Dr. Sharon Koval Falkenstern has been named Director of Clarion University's School of Nursing and Allied Health, which is located at Clarion University–Venango Campus in Oil City. In this academic leadership position, Dr. Falkenstern oversees all programs and faculty of the School, which offers associate, bachelor and master's degrees in nursing, with nurse practitioner and nursing education concentrations offered through the master's program of the Department of Nursing. The Department of Allied Health offers, in partnership with regional hospitals, a bachelor of science in medical imaging sciences, with concentrations in radiography and ultrasound, an associate degree in allied health with multiple concentrations, and an associate degree in respiratory care.
Recognized as a leader in collaboration and distance education, the School has one of the largest nursing and allied health enrollments in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education's 14 public universities. Courses are offered at the Venango Campus, the Clarion Campus, at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, and at a variety of hospitals across Pennsylvania and in four other states, using a variety of live instruction and distance education modalities.
Dr. Falkenstern comes to her new position from The Pennsylvania State University, where she served on the nursing faculty since 1992, most recently as coordinator of the Master of Science Nurse Practitioner Option. As coordinator of international nursing experiences, she escorted nursing exchange students from the University of Jonkoping in Sweden, to Hershey Medical Center, Veterans' Administration clinics and hospitals, and Washington, DC.
Dr. Falkenstern earned her bachelor and master's degrees in nursing from Case Western Reserve University and her Ph.D. with a major in nursing and a minor in adult education from Penn State. She is a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) and is board certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses' Credentialing Commission. As a Certified Nurse Educator by the National League for Nursing, she developed graduate level online courses of nursing theory and taught videoconferenced courses in health assessment, pharmacology, and child health.
She has earned awards and recognitions from the National League for Nursing; Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing; Schreyer Institute for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Penn State; the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association; and Phi Lamba Theta, National Education Honor Society, among others.
Dr. Falkenstern has presented at regional, national, and international conferences, and has published articles on cultural diversity, pediatric growth patterns, and children with special health care needs. Newman's nursing theory of health as expanding consciousness guides her approach to education, administration, clinical practice, and research. Dr. Falkenstern said, "I was fortunate to have Dr. Sarah Gueldner as chair of my dissertation committee because she led me to Drs. Karen Morin, Carol Smith, Donna Queeney, and Margaret Newman as my special mentor. Mentorship is so important in nursing, and I hope to thank my mentors by being a caring mentor to other faculty, staff, nurses, and nursing students."
Her professional activities include present memberships and participation in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau, the National Health Service Corps, the National League for Nursing, the Society of Rogerian Scholars, and the American Holistic Nurses Association. Dr. Falkenstern is a charter member of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and a founding member of the Midstate Association of Nurse Practitioners. As an advocate of health care for all people, she addresses community groups and serves as a clinical project grant reviewer for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services.
"My colleagues and I are exceedingly fortunate to welcome an educator of Dr. Falkenstern's stature to lead our exceptional nursing and allied health faculty," said Dr. Christopher M. Reber, executive dean at the Venango Campus. "She brings to the School a wealth of expertise and experience, which will be immensely valuable during this time of rapid growth for the Venango Campus and the School of Nursing and Allied Health."
Clarion University–Venango Campus, located in Oil City, is the oldest regional campus in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. The campus provides high-quality educational programs and personalized services to help students succeed. Students can begin any of Clarion University's 90+ bachelor's degrees at the Venango Campus, earn an associate degree, a bachelor's or master's degree in select areas, obtain a one-year certificate or participate in a variety of professional development and personal enrichment courses. The campus is home to Clarion University's School of Nursing and Allied Health, the Department of Applied Technology, and the Venango Department of Arts and Sciences. Clarion University–Venango Campus is committed to serving the needs of the community.