Faculty

Elizabeth Ritt, EdD, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CNE

Chair and Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1933  |  Send Elizabeth an Email

Elizabeth Ritt joined Benedictine University in August 2011 as chair and professor of Nursing and Health. Prior to joining Benedictine she held the position as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa. She has a long history with North Park University as a tenured professor and dean. Dr. Ritt is frequently sought out by national and international organizations for her expertise on adult learning, assessment, and accreditation. She has published many papers in the fields of higher education, health care, and analytics.

Dr. Ritt holds an Ed.D, specializing in Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, from Northern Illinois University (1989). She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), specializing in Adult Health Nursing/Education, from Loyola University of Chicago (1982), and a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nursing (BS), from North Park University. Dr. Ritt holds certifications as nurse executive-advanced and nurse educator.

Gina Canny, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (217) 525-1420 x3259  |  Send Gina an Email  |  Office: Springfield

She joined the Benedictine University team in 2013. She enjoys teaching Research and Leadership/ Management at the BU-Springfield campus. She is the Springfield campus contact for Sigma Theta Tau. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing, with concentration as a Nurse Educator (2012) from Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. John’s College (1994) Springfield, Illinois. Previously, she was a staff and charge nurse in the clinical critical care areas. She is certified as a Trauma Nurse Specialist. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Nu Pi Chapter as well as Midwest Nursing Research Society. Currently, she serves on the Adjunct Faculty Development and Support Task Force, Faculty Development Committee and Interdisciplinary and Diversity Task Force. Her specialty areas include Emergency and Acute Care, Medication and Patient Safety.

Margaret Delaney, RN, MS, PNP-BC

Instructor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-6296  |  Send Margaret an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248B

Margaret Delaney joined Benedictine University in 2007 and teaches both in the BSN completion and MSN program. Margaret received her BSN from Loyola University in Chicago, IL and a Masters in Science, with the focus: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from DePaul University, Chicago IL. Margaret is presently pursuing a Doctorate of education in Higher Education and organizational Change from Benedictine University Lisle, IL. Prior to joining Benedictine, Margaret taught nursing at Loyola University of Chicago. Her teaching experience includes both face-to-face and on-line learning environments. Her course specialties are Family Health, Community Health, Health Assessment, Nursing Management and Practicum Synthesis.

For the vast majority of her practice, Margaret was employed at a large free standing children’s hospital in Chicago, Lurie Children’s Hospital, formally Children’s Memorial. She worked in general pediatrics and the ICU as a staff nurse, conducted multiple research studies as a clinical research coordinator, moved into an educator role, and finally evolved as a Nurse Practitioner caring for the pulmonary/asthma and allergy population. Along with her teaching responsibilities Margaret currently holds office hours at a general pediatric office in Naperville, IL.

Margaret is an active board member of Sigma Theta Tau, a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Illinois Nurses Association.

Valerie Ellinger, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (217) 525-1420 x3316  |  Send Valerie an Email  |  Office: Becker Library L-36

Valerie Ellinger joined the Benedictine University team in 2011. She enjoys teaching Community Health Nursing and Transforming Care at the BU-Springfield campus. She also is the Advisor for the RN-BSN Springfield students. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Nurse Education, at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (2009) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McKendree College (2000).

Previously, Ellinger has taught nursing at the LPN level. Her specialty areas include Acute Care, Emergency and Psychiatric Nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Nu Pi Chapter. She serves on the Curriculum and the Blended/Online Committees at BU-S.

Dr. Brian Higgerson, DNSc, RN, FNP-BC, CNE

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-6182  |  Send Dr. Higgerson an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 252

Dr. Brian Higgerson is an accomplished nursing educator, researcher, and practitioner. Dr. Higgerson joined Benedictine as an assistant professor at Benedictine University in 2010. He earned his Doctorate of Nursing Science with a focus in family nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. He has a Master Science of Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. His Bachelor Science of Nursing is from Union University Jackson, Tennessee. Dr. Higgerson’s teaching background spans over two decades, which include appointments as a clinical associate professor to director of nurse practitioner programs.

Dr. Higgerson’s broad clinical experience as a Family Nurse Practitioner includes settings in homeless shelters, public health departments, as well as private practice. Presently, he practices as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a community health clinic serving uninsured residents in Southern Arizona.

Dr. Higgerson’s program of research focuses on maternal/infant birth outcomes as well the health promotion strategies for residents living on the US-Mexico border.

Laura Holland, MSN, RN, CNE

Instructor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1146  |  Send Laura an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248B

Laura Holland joined Benedictine University in 2010 and teaches both in the BSN completion and MSN program. Laura received her BSN from Marquette University, WI and a Masters in Nurse Education from Lewis University, IL. Laura has obtained Certification in Nurse Education (CNE) from NLN. Laura is presently pursuing her post- master’s certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner and her DNP.

Laura’s prior teaching experience includes numerous didactic and clinical courses along with teaching in many different learning modalities including face- to- face classroom sessions, fully on-line and hybrid courses. Her teaching expertise includes gerontology, management, health care systems, healthcare policy, technology, and quality and safety. In 2011 and 2013, Laura was a participant at the Nurse Educator, National Quality and Safety Education of Nurses (QSEN) Institute. Laura is a passionate educator and uses her knowledge and experience with QSEN to integrate quality and safety into the curriculum in both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. She actively encourages students to define, apply, and integrate quality and safety into their professional practice and to become agents of change for their health care organizations.

Laura has numerous years of nursing experience with emphasis on medical – surgical nursing, gerontology, and home health care. In addition, Laura professionally presents Intimate Partner Violence Educational Workshops for practicing nurses throughout Illinois. Her prior work life experience also includes sales, marketing, and regional sales management of pharmaceuticals. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, American Nurses Association, National League of Nurses, and American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Susan Hovey, MSN, RN

Assistant Professor and Springfield Program Coordinator

Nursing and Health

Phone: (217) 525-1420 x3290  |  Send Susan an Email  |  Office: Becker Library L-34

Susan Hovey joined Benedictine University at Springfield in the summer of 2010 as Coordinator of Nursing Programs. Susan came to Benedictine University with a diverse teaching background. She has teaching experience in a variety of nursing and health science programs including Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nursing, Certified Surgical Technology, Associate Degree Nursing, and Bachelor Degree Nursing. She spent over 25 years working as a Registered Nurse in the practice setting with a focus in nephrology nursing. She has held administrative positions at a Licensed Practical Nursing Program and a Dialysis Center.

Hovey is currently a student at Illinois State University (ISU) in Bloomington-Normal and is working toward her Ph.D. in Nursing. She received her Master of Science degree at Regis University in Denver Colorado and her Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in Edwardsville, IL.

Margaret Kipta, MS, RN, FNP-BC, CRNA

Instructor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-6236  |  Send Margaret an Email  |  Office: Birck Hall 120

Margaret M. Kipta joined Benedictine University in September 2012 as an instructor in the BSN program in Lisle and a nursing lab coordinator for the Lisle and Springfield campuses. She has a long history of teaching in graduate nursing programs. She has taught at DePaul University in a generic nursing master program, in the family nurse practitioner program and the nurse anesthetist program since 2000. She had held a position of the Interim Director of Nurse Practitioner programs at DePaul University for two years prior to coming to Benedictine University. She received the DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. She is a scholar of National Health Service Corps.

Kipta received her Master of Science in Nursing from DePaul University (2000) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Finch University of Health Sciences/Barat College (1996). She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree at the University of Michigan-Flint. She holds two national board certifications, including Family Nurse Practitioner certification and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist certification.

Joan Libner, Ed.D, MSN, RN-BC, CNE

Associate Professor and RN to BSN Program Director

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1153  |  Send Joan an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 245

Joan Libner joined Benedictine University in August 2011 and serves as director of the RN to BSN Program. Teaching responsibilities are met in both the RN to BSN and MSN Programs. Prior to joining Benedictine she served many years at Triton College as nursing faculty and chairperson. Dr. Libner was appointed to the Illinois Board of Nursing in 2010 and currently serves as vice-chair and as a member of the Education Subcommittee. She is a participant in the NCSBN Institute of Regulatory Excellence Fellowship Program pursuing her interest in the implications of nurses’ understanding of licensure regulation in Illinois.

Dr. Libner earned an Ed.D. with a focus in educational leadership from Concordia University Chicago, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a clinical specialty in medical-surgical nursing from Loyola University Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Northern Illinois University. She holds certification as a nurse educator and as a gerontological nurse.

Margaret Richey, EdD, MSN, RN

Associate Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (620) 829-6189  |  Send Margaret an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248B

Dr. Richey joined Benedictine University as Adjunct MSN Faculty in 2011 and was appointed in August 2012 as Associate Professor. Prior to joining Benedictine, Dr. Richey served as Associate Professor in Nursing at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dr. Richey has over 30 years of experience including, mental health nursing, burn nursing, health promotion, nursing management, curriculum development and new program design, nursing research, academia and public speaking.

Earned degrees include: Doctor of Education, specializing in Health Professions Education from College of Saint Mary, Omaha NE. She received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) from Drake University, Des Moines, IA, and Bachelor Science Degree in Nursing also from Drake University. In addition, she holds a Diploma in Nursing from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Des Moines, Iowa, (1982).

Dr. Richey completed her doctoral dissertation on Registered Nurses’ Perceptions of Health Literacy and Its Effect on Patient Self-Efficacy and Patient Health Care Decisions. Current research interests include: effectiveness of communication and patient education methods among high-risk patient groups; importance of curricula development that stress health literacy; homelessness and its effect on self-efficacy, patient access and patient health care decisions.

Dr. Richey is passionate about health literacy and about meeting the needs of the underserved and homeless. She is devoted to assisting others in the development of their own areas of passion in the service of nursing leadership and nursing education and sharing her love for the profession with her students.

Alison Ridge, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE

Assistant Professor and MSN Program Director

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1160  |  Send Alison an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 246

Sharon Ware, EdD, MA, MSN, RN

Associate Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-6196  |  Send Sharon an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248A

Sharon Ware is an associate professor of nursing at Benedictine University in the MSN program. She has previously taught in the undergraduate program at North Carolina Central University. Dr. Ware coordinates the East Coast Migrant Head Start Project Health Advisory Committee, is the advisor for the Education & Advocacy Committee of the North Carolina Child Care Health Consultant Association. Dr. Ware is also an active member SafeKids™ Wake County. Other organizations include the Central Carolina Black Nurses' Council, an affiliate of the National Black Nurse Association and Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority. Dr. Ware is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, Lambda Upsilon Chapter.

Dr. Ware has over 40 years nursing experience in community health nursing and is concern with eliminating health disparities for persons of color. She has worked extensively with organizations in the area of cultural competency and is published under this subject. Her area of research is environmental hazards for young children with emphasize on asthma and allergies. Dr. Ware has been a guest speaker on a variety of community health issues and has worked with populations in the Caribbean, on California Native Indian Reservations, tribal nations of Oklahoma, and villages of Ghana, West Africa, as well as Uganda, East Africa to provide nursing care and education to those in need.

Staff

Brandon Amos, MBA

Coordinator of MSN Program Operations

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1148  |  Send Brandon an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248B

Brandon Amos joined the Department of Nursing and Health at Benedictine University in 2011, where he assumed the role of MSN Admin/Course Support Liaison.

Brandon earned his Bachelor of Science (BS) from Eastern Illinois University (2008) in Charleston, Illinois where he focused his studies in marketing. He later went on to earn his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from North Central College (2010) in Naperville, Illinois where he concentrated on human resources.

Currently, Brandon serves as the Coordinator of MSN Program Operations.

Crystal Pace, MS, LPC

Coordinator of BSN Academic Advising and Office Operations

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1152  |  Send Crystal an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248A

Crystal Pace began her journey at Benedictine University in 2003. She started under University Services in Enrollment Management in the area of Admission. She moved into Academic Affairs joining the Department of Nursing and Health in 2008.

Crystal earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from DePaul University (2003) in Chicago, IL. She obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Benedictine University (2009) and is licensed as a Professional Counselor (LPC).

Currently, Crystal serves as the Academic Advisor for students in the BSN Program and oversees office operations for the Lisle campus.

Jennifer Lange, BA

Administrative Assistant for Program Assessment and Technology

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1147  |  Send Jennifer an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 249

Jennifer joined Benedictine University in July 2013 as an Administrative Assistant for Program Assessment and Technology. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Media Production) from Columbia College Chicago. Prior to joining Benedictine, Jennifer served as the Office Manager for the Diocese of Joliet Religious Education Office. Jennifer started her career at WGN Television in Chicago as an Assistant Director for the Morning and Noon News. Jennifer also volunteers as a Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts of America.

Jessica Hanson, BA

Administrative Assistant - Springfield

Nursing and Health

Phone: (217) 525-1420 x3343  |  Send Jessica an Email  |  Office: Springfield

Jessica Hanson joined the Benedictine University Department of Nursing and Health in 2012 as Administrative Assistant at the Springfield Branch Campus. She obtained a dual Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Benedictine University in 2010. Jessica is currently pursuing a Graduate Degree in Business Administration with a focus in Health Care Administration from Benedictine University and is set to graduate August 2014.

BSN Lisle Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Mary Billie, MSN, RN-BC, CCM BSN Nursing and Health mbillie@ben.edu
Patricia Brown, DNP, APN, CNS, CCRN BSN Nursing and Health pbrown@ben.edu
Jeffrey Coleman, MSN, RN, CNML, CMSRN BSN Nursing and Health jcoleman@ben.edu
Ellen Davel, Ed.D., MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health edavel@ben.edu
Hillary Holecek, MBA, MS BSN Nursing and Health hholecek@ben.edu
Dhananjay Joshi, MS BSN Nursing and Health djoshi@ben.edu
Beverly Kawa, MS, RN BSN Nursing and Health bkawa@ben.edu
Linda Olson, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC BSN Nursing and Health lolson@ben.edu
Roberta Purcell, MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health rpurcell@ben.edu
Roberta Rysztogi, MS, RN BSN Nursing and Health rrysztogi@ben.edu
Bonnie Schleder, EdD, MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health bschleder@ben.edu
Aline Tupa, MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health atupa@ben.edu
Margaret Young, MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health myoung@ben.edu

BSN Springfield Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Shelly Baldwin, MSN, RN, CWOCN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health sbaldwin@ben.edu
Mary Barnes, MS, RN, CCRN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health mbarnes@ben.edu
Andrew Hynds BSN Springfield Nursing and Health ahynds@ben.edu
Vicki McMahon, MSN, RN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health vmmcmahon@ben.edu
Mary Micklus, MS, RN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health mmicklus@ben.edu
Beth Phelps, MS, RN, APN-BC BSN Springfield Nursing and Health bphelps@ben.edu
Kathy Vaca, MSN, RN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health kvaca@ben.edu
Karen Vercellino, MSN, RN-BC, CNE BSN Springfield Nursing and Health kvercellino@ben.edu

MSN Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Vicki Coombs, PhD, RN, FAHA MSN Nursing and Health vcoombs@ben.edu
Deborah Jezuit, PhD, MS, RN MSN Nursing and Health djezuit@ben.edu
Deborah Jones, PhD, MSN, RN MSN Nursing and Health djones@ben.edu
Bernice Kennedy, PhD, RN, PMH-CNS, BC MSN Nursing and Health bkennedy@ben.edu
Emily Keyes, PhD, MSN, RN MSN Nursing and Health bkeyes@ben.edu
Pam Koob, PhD, FNP-BC, MSN, RN MSN Nursing and Health pkoob@ben.edu
Tammy Lampley, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE MSN Nursing and Health tlampley@ben.edu
Carol Patton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CRNP, Healthcare Informatics Certificate, Parish Nurse, CNE MSN Nursing and Health cpatton@ben.edu
Patricia Shannon, PhD, MSN, MA, RN, RNP-BC, CNE MSN Nursing and Health pshannon@ben.edu
Judith Treschuk, PhD, CNS, RN, CNE MSN Nursing and Health jtreschuk@ben.edu
M. Cecilia Wendler, PhD, MA, RN, NE-BC MSN Nursing and Health cwendler@ben.edu
Jasmin Whitfield, DNP, MSN, MPH, RN MSN Nursing and Health jwhitfield@ben.edu
Bobbie Sue Whitworth, PhD, MSN, RN MSN Nursing and Health bwhitworth@ben.edu
Mark Wyatt, DNP, MSN, RN, NE-BC MSN Nursing and Health mwyatt@ben.edu
Department of Nursing and Health
Benedictine University
Contact Us
Lisle, College of DuPage, Morton College and Triton College cohorts:

Janet Eggenberger,
File Processing Coordinator

By mail
Benedictine University
Lownik Hall, Room 067
5700 College Road
Lisle, IL 60532

E-mail: jeggenberger@ben.edu

Phone: (630) 829-6300

Fax: (630) 829-4301

Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. M-F

Springfield and Decatur cohorts:

Janet Richter, M.A.
Director of Development for Adult and Graduate Programs

By mail
Benedictine University at Springfield
Becker Library: L-29
1500 North 5th Street
Springfield, IL 62702

E-mail: jrichter@ben.edu

Phone: (217) 525-1420 x 3555

Fax: (217) 528-9871

Hours: 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. M-F