Dr. Joan Libner, EdD, MSN, FRE, RN-BC, CNE

Professor, Department Chair

Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-1153  |  Send Dr. Libner an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 248

Dr. Libner joined Benedictine University in August 2011 as faculty and Director of the RN to BSN Program. In August 2014, she assumed the role of Chair of the Department of Nursing and Health. Teaching responsibilities are met in both the hybrid RN to BSN and 100% online MSN Programs. Prior to joining Benedictine, Dr. Libner served many years as a nursing faculty member and chairperson. She taught all levels of medical-surgical nursing, including supervising clinical experiences in over a dozen sites as well as meeting administrative responsibilities.

In 2010, Dr. Libner was appointed to the Illinois Board of Nursing. She served as Vice-chair from 2013-2014, Chair from 2014-2016, and as a member of the Education Subcommittee throughout her tenure on the Board. With a nurse educator colleague, she developed the Illinois Board of Nursing’s Remediation Strategies for programs with poor NCLEX pass rates. Dr. Libner was awarded fellowship in the National Council State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Institute of Regulatory Excellence Fellowship Program pursuing her interest in the implications of nurses' understanding of licensure regulation in Illinois. Dr. Libner currently serves as secretary for the Illinois Association of Colleges of Nursing.

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 with the National League for Nursing and as a gerontological nurse with the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Dr. Patricia Brown, DNP, APRN, CCRN-K

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

  |  Send Dr. Brown an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 247

Pat Brown joined the Benedictine University faculty in 2013, and teaches in the B.S.N. program. Her course specialties include nursing research/evidence-based practice and nursing leadership.

Prior to coming to Benedictine, she served in different nursing roles in college and hospital administration, nursing education, staff development and nursing research.  She is an active member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, recently served on the Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition: Education Workgroup on Seamless Academic Progressions for Nurses. Dr. Brown is currently a member of the Editorial Board for Nursing & Healthcare International Journal and was a contributing editor for Critical Care Nurse. She has presented on the topic of family engagement in patient care at various regional, national and international nursing conferences.

Dr. Brown earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Rush University with a focus in critical care family partnerships, Master of Science (M.S.) in adult medical/surgical nursing from Northern Illinois University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in nursing from Andrews University, and an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in nursing from Morton College. She holds certification in critical care nursing and advanced practice nursing licensure as a clinical nurse specialist.

Dr. Margaret Delaney, Ed.D., APN, CNP, RN

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

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

Dr. Margaret Delaney joined Benedictine University in 2007 and has instructed in both 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 completed her Doctorate of Education in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University Lisle, IL. Before joining Benedictine, Margaret taught nursing at Loyola University of Chicago. Her teaching experience includes both face-to-face and online learning environments. Her course specialties are Family Health, Population Based Health, Community and Leadership Clinical, Health Assessment, Nursing Leadership and Practicum Synthesis.

For the vast majority of her practice, Margaret was employed at a large, free-standing children’s hospital Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  She worked in general pediatrics, and the ICU as a staff nurse.  Margaret served as a Clinical Educator and Clinical Research Coordinator where she oversaw unit and institutional education initiatives as well as multiple clinical research studies and assumed the role of Nurse Practitioner caring for the pulmonary/asthma and allergy population.

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

Ms. Valerie Ellinger, M.S.N., RN


Nursing and Health

Phone: (217) 718-5335  |  Send Ms. Ellinger 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. Massoud "Max" Ghaffari, B.Sc, MD_FMG, M.Ed., BSN, M.S.N., PhD.

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-2270  |  Send Dr. Ghaffari an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 246

Dr. Ghaffari joined the Benedictine University Department of Nursing and Health in August 2017 as a tenure-track, assistant professor. His academic journey began with studying Medical Technology (B.Sc), followed by Medicine (MD-FMG), Community Health Education/Promotion (M.Ed) with focus on sexuality education and drug abuse prevention, BSN/MSN with focus on nursing administration, and PhD in Education with focus on learning and development. In addition to his medical and clinical background, he is an academically trained Nursing Administrator. He was trained and worked in diverse healthcare arena including acute care hospital, long-term and rehabilitative care, and assisted living. He designed, implemented, and evaluated health promotion programs related to sexuality education and drug abuse prevention for the college students.

Dr. Ghaffari maintains an active qualitative research program aimed at understanding and promoting students' academic and life success. He has developed, tested and published a conceptual model, the Trinity Paradigm of Intelligence, which provides a guiding framework for

his work. His current studies focus on assessing the effectiveness of exercise on student health and exploration of the role of socialization in promoting academic wellness.

Dr. Ghaffari presents nationally and internationally, and has published his findings in several peer-reviewed journals. He has chaired and served as a committee member in many dissertations, DNP and MSN capstone projects, and advised and mentored many undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Deborah Jezuit, Ph.D., M.S., RN

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-6372  |  Send Dr. Jezuit an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 248A

Dr. Jezuit joined Benedictine University as an Adjunct MSN Faculty in 2010 and was appointed in August 2014 as Assistant Professor. Prior to joining Benedictine, Dr. Jezuit served as the Director of an Associate Degree nursing program for 10 years and as assistant professor at Northern Illinois University in the BSN program for 6 years. She has served as a doctoral advisor for several students.

Dr. Jezuit has nearly 40 years of nursing experience including critical care nursing and nursing management, curriculum development and program design, ethics, and nursing presentations.

Earned degrees include: PhD in Nursing Ethics from Rush University, Chicago, with a focus on end of life issues. She received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) from Purdue University Calumet, Hammond IN as a critical care clinical specialist and Bachelor Science Degree in Nursing from Ball State University in Muncie IN.


Dr. Margaret Kipta, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CRNA

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-6236  |  Send Dr. Kipta an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 248B

Margaret M. Kipta is a highly recognized educator with a long history of teaching in graduate nursing programs. Since June 2011, Dr. Kipta has been a faculty member at the Benedictine University Department of Nursing and Health. Before coming to Benedictine, she had taught in the graduate nursing programs at DePaul University for 11 years and had served as an Interim Director of the Nurse Practitioner programs at DePaul University between 2009 and 2011. She was honored there with the prestigious DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. Dr. Kipta is a scholar of National Health Service Corps and served in the U.S. Army Reserves between 2006 and 2014. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Finch University of Health Sciences/Barat College, North Chicago, IL in 1996, her Master of Science in Nursing from DePaul University, Chicago, IL in 2000, and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree in 2016 from University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI. She holds two national board certifications: Family Nurse Practitioner certification since 2000 and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist certification since 2008. Dr. Kipta's research interest include: application of simulation and technology in nursing practice and interprofessional education: effects on professional practice with healthcare outcomes.

Dr. Gina Panozzo, B.S.N., M.S.N., DNP, RN-BC

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

  |  Send Dr. Panozzo an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 248B

Gina Panozzo joined Benedictine University in August 2017 as a tenure track Assistant Professor.  Gina is happy to return to Benedictine after being a pre-nursing student there from 2000-2002.  Her background includes psychiatric and mental health nursing, home health, hospice, QI/PI management, consulting, former business owner of a consulting agency, and academia.  She has taught at the ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, RN to MSN and MSN levels (didactic, online, and in psychiatric clinical settings).  She is passionate about working with underserved and diverse individuals such as the homeless and mentally ill populations.  She teaches in state psychiatric facilities and has coordinated numerous food/clothing drives for patients.  She is fluent in Spanish.  She received her BSN from the University of St. Francis, MSN in nursing administration from Aurora University, and DNP in systems leadership from Rush University.  She is board certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing.  She enjoys tutoring and mentoring students as well as speaking at student professional conferences and lunch and learn sessions.  She is a member of two chapters of Sigma Theta Tau International and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.  Gina received the 40 Under 40 Award in 2016 through the Illinois Nurses Association.  Gina's first publication in July/August 2017 was focused on reducing readmission levels at a mid-sized home health agency.  Her areas of research interest include home health, simulation, the online learning environment, and mental health nursing.

Dr. Margaret Richey, Ed.D., M.S.N., RN

Associate Professor

Nursing and Health

Phone: (620) 829-6189  |  Send Dr. Richey 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.

Dr. Alison Ridge, D.N.P., M.S.N., RN, CNE

Assistant Professor and M.S.N. Program Director

Nursing and Health

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

Alison Ridge joined Benedictine University in June 2012 as MSN Program Director and Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing and Health. Prior to joining Benedictine, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing at Rush College of Nursing in Chicago, IL. Over her twelve years on faculty at Rush, she taught didactic and practicum courses in three pre-licensure programs and taught online at the master's and doctoral level. Her administrative expertise grew during the seven years she served as clinical nurse manager of a geropsychiatry unit followed by eight years as a project director on two NIH funded research grants. She received her BSN, MSN specializing in psychiatric nursing, and DNP in systems leadership from Rush College of Nursing. Her practice has focused on the care of acute and chronically ill adults with mental health issues as well as promoting young children's social emotional development through her work with the Chicago Parent Program, an evidence-based parent training program delivered to diverse parents in community settings. Her research interests include online education and program assessment. She became a Certified Nurse Educator in 2011, is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and the National League for Nursing. She has received recognition in leadership, mentoring, and teaching and was awarded a two-year Wiley Faculty Fellowship in 2014.


Dr. Elizabeth Ritt, Ed.D., M.S.N., RN, NEA-BC, CNE


Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1933  |  Send Dr. Ritt an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 245

Dr. Ritt received a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nursing from North Park University, a Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University, and a Doctor of Education from Northern Illinois University. She is a full-time tenured professor of nursing in the graduate nursing program at Benedictine University, Illinois. She has 38 years of nursing experience with over 15 years of progressive administrative and teaching experience in higher education.  She served in the roles of director of education, national health care consultant, department chair, dean, and provost. Dr. Ritt maintains executive level expertise in accreditation, assessment and evaluation, faculty development, financial and strategic planning, new curriculum and program development, and health care analytics. She has presented and published in the areas of faculty development, analytics in nursing education, and recently completed a research study that examined the identification of post-acute patients at risk for hospital readmission.  Dr. Ritt received a Fulbright Scholarship, numerous professional grants, and served as a peer evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association. Currently, she conducts on-site evaluations as team leader for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Dr. Ritt is serving her second term on the CCNE-Accreditation Review Committee and recently completed service on the 2016 CCNE nominating committee.


Ms. Margaret "Peggy" Young, M.S.N., RN, CPHQ, CPPS

RN to BSN Program Director

Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-1146  |  Send Ms. Young an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 248B

Ms. Peggy Young joined Benedictine University full-time in 2015.However, Ms. Young has been connected to BU for several years, having completed both Benedictine's RN-BSN completion and MSN online programs.Furthermore, she has been adjunct faculty for BU since 2012 teaching various courses, including Nursing Theory and Community Health.Prior to joining Benedictine full-time, Ms. Young was faculty and Clinical Coordinator for Triton College.Ms. Young has clinical experience in Medical-Surgical, Labor &Delivery and Postpartum nursing.Ms. Young's background also includes extensive experience in quality management, peer review and hospital accreditation processes.

Ms. Young began her research agenda through her involvement in a research project that landed her at Mayo Clinic's Quest for Quality conference. There she presented the research that she and her colleagues conducted with mothers post-delivery. Most recently, she completed a two year term in which she advanced the Lambda Upsilon-At-Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society through serving as its president.   Ms. Young continues as an active member of our chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, while also a member of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN) and a Certified Provider in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).


Mrs. Janet Eggenberger, M.A.

Coordinator of MSN Operations

Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-1148  |  Send Mrs. Eggenberger an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 248A

Janet rejoined Benedictine University in July 2017 and currently serves as the Coordinator of MSN Program Operations.

Janet received her Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University as well as Master of Art in Teaching from National Louis University. She has served in a variety of capacities in the education world including a classroom teacher, adjunct instructor and academic advisor for graduate non-traditional adult students.

Mrs. Jennifer Lange, B.A.

Coordinator of BSN Advising and Office Operations

Nursing and Health

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

Jennifer joined Benedictine University in July 2013. She is currently the Coordinator of BSN Advising and Office Operations for the Department of Nursing and Health. 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.

Mrs. Erin Divoky, B.A.

Administrative Assistant for Assessment and Technology

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1147  |  Send Mrs. Divoky an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 249

Erin joined Benedictine University in April of 2015 as an Administrative Assistant for Program Assessment and Technology. Erin graduated cum laude from St. Xavier University in Chicago where she received her Bachelor of Arts in History. After graduating, Erin worked for DeVry University Online and later for DeVry Tinley Park as the Associate Registrar. She has also spent a lot of time lately volunteering at her children's school and as a member of their parent/teacher board.

BSN Lisle Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Mary Billie, M.S.N., RN-BC, CCM BSN Nursing and Health mbillie@ben.edu
Jeffrey Coleman, M.S.N., RN, CNML, CMSRN BSN Nursing and Health jcoleman@ben.edu
Ellen Davel, Ed.D., M.S.N., RN BSN Nursing and Health edavel@ben.edu
Martha Hann, MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health
Hillary Holecek, M.B.A., M.S. BSN Nursing and Health hholecek@ben.edu
Laura Holland, M.S.N., RN, CNE BSN Nursing and Health lholland@ben.edu
Susan Hovey, PhD, RN BSN Nursing and Health shovey@ben.edu
Simi Joseph, DNP, APN, NP-C BSN Nursing and Health sjoseph@ben.edu
Dhananjay Joshi, M.S. BSN Nursing and Health djoshi@ben.edu
Beverly Kawa, M.S., RN BSN Nursing and Health bkawa@ben.edu
Barbara Lockwood, PhD, RN, CNE BSN Nursing and Health blockwood@ben.edu
Roberta Purcell, M.S.N., RN BSN Nursing and Health rpurcell@ben.edu
Ethel Ragland, Ed.D., MN, RN BSN Nursing and Health eragland@ben.edu
Roberta Rysztogi, M.S., RN, CCRN-CMC BSN Nursing and Health rrysztogi@ben.edu
Kimberly Scheffel, MSN, RN, CNRN, NE-BC BSN Nursing and Health kscheffel@ben.edu
Bonnie Schleder, Ed.D., M.S.N., RN BSN Nursing and Health bschleder@ben.edu
Barbara Simmons, Ph.D., RN BSN Nursing and Health bsimmons@ben.edu
Denise Top Rhine, M.Ed., RN BSN Nursing and Health dtoprhine@ben.edu
Aline Tupa, M.S.N., RN BSN Nursing and Health atupa@ben.edu

BSN Springfield Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Shelly Baldwin, M.S.N., RN, CWOCN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health sbaldwin@ben.edu
Mary Barnes, M.S., RN, CCRN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health mbarnes@ben.edu
Vicki McMahon, M.S.N., RN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health vmmcmahon@ben.edu
Beth Phelps, D.N.P., M.S., RN, APN-BC BSN Springfield Nursing and Health bphelps@ben.edu
Kathy Vaca, M.S.N., RN BSN Springfield Nursing and Health kvaca@ben.edu
Karen Vercellino, M.S.N., RN-BC, CNE BSN Springfield Nursing and Health kvercellino@ben.edu

MSN Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Mary Bemker, D.N.Sc., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health mbemker@ben.edu
Donna Borré, Ed.D., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health dborre@ben.edu
Vicki Coombs, Ph.D., RN, FAHA MSN Nursing and Health vcoombs@ben.edu
Constance Hill, Ph.D., M.S.N, RN MSN Nursing and Health chill@ben.edu
Marti Kessack, Ph.D., M.S.N./Ed, RN MSN Nursing and Health mkessack@ben.edu
Emily Keyes, Ph.D., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health ekeyes@ben.edu
Camille McNicholas, Ph.D., M.S., B.S.N., RN, C.R.N.A., A.P.R.N. MSN Nursing and Health cmcnicholas@ben.edu
Sarah Mutschlecner, D.N.P., M.S.N., RN, FNP-BC MSN Nursing and Health smutschlecner@ben.edu
Carol Patton, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, CRNP, Parish Nurse, CNE MSN Nursing and Health cpatton@ben.edu
Patricia Shannon, Ph.D., M.S.N., M.A., RN, RNP-BC, CNE MSN Nursing and Health pshannon@ben.edu
Theresa Shipps, D.N.Sc., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health tshipps@ben.edu
Debbie Simmons, D.N.P., MSN, RN MSN Nursing and Health dsimmons@ben.edu
Judith Treschuk, Ph.D., CNS, RN, CNE MSN Nursing and Health jtreschuk@ben.edu
M. Cecilia Wendler, Ph.D., M.A., RN, NE-BC MSN Nursing and Health cwendler@ben.edu
Jasmin Whitfield, D.N.P., M.S.N., MPH, RN MSN Nursing and Health jwhitfield@ben.edu
Department of Nursing and Health
Benedictine University
Contact Us
Lisle, College of DuPage, Morton College and Triton College cohorts:
Hicela Woods,
Associate Director of Non-Traditional Programs

By mail
Benedictine University
Lownik Hall, Room 068
5700 College Road
Lisle, IL 60532

E-mail: hwoods@ben.edu
Phone: (630) 829-6637
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) 718-5276
Fax: (217) 528-9871
Hours: 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. M-F