GV welcomes new Dean of Kirkhof College of Nursing


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Isabelle England, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) was founded in 1973, 13 years after the founding of GVSU.

On Jan. 6, KCON welcomed Patricia Thomas, its new acting Dean. Thomas previously served as the associate dean for faculty affairs at Wayne State University’s College of Nursing. Before joining WSU’s faculty, Thomas served as the assistant dean and as an associate professor, then later as associate dean at KCON from 2016-2019.

At GVSU, the KCON baccalaureate degree program, the master’s degree program and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. KCON is housed in the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health, part of GVSU’s health campus in Grand Rapids. 

“My experience includes both academic and operational leadership in nursing over several decades,” Thomas said. “Focused on partnerships in health systems, the community and internationally, I have a record of implementing innovative and creative academic-practice partnerships to enhance the education and preparation of nurses.”

Thomas holds an associate degree in nursing from Lake Superior State University, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in philosophy from Walden University. 

“The college of nursing is a significant contributor to the mission and vision of GVSU in preparing graduates as professional nurses and leaders,” Thomas said. “KCON graduates from the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs contribute to quality care in the greater Grand Rapids, state and national levels.”

KCON has over 50 faculty members and offers over seven different courses for degree-seeking individuals. The program also offers job shadows and volunteering opportunities to gain firsthand experience before deciding which track is best for each student’s individual academic aspirations and professional goals.  

“KCON has a long and strong reputation for quality education, innovation and partnerships,” Thomas said. “The inspiring mission, dedicated faculty and staff, and forward-thinking vision brought me back to GVSU. My personal and professional values including collaboration, integrity, inclusion, innovation, curiosity and lifelong learning that align with those of GVSU and the KCON.” 

Before the transfer of deans, Thomas was able to meet with her predecessor and former acting Dean Katherine Moran, and has been welcomed by staff across the university through the transition.

“I’m looking forward to starting on campus to continue this process,” Thomas said. 

Moran will return to her former position as associate dean for the Kirkhof College of Nursing in early January.

To apply or for more information about KCON and the services the program offers, students can visit their website. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Services at [email protected] or visit them at the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health in Suite 415 for help with degree planning, registration support and admission issues as well as personal support and career guidance.