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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 acute and long-term healthcare settings as well as meeting administrative responsibilities.

In 2010, Dr. Libner was appointed to the Illinois Board of Nursing, served as Chair from 2014-2016, and as a member of the Education Subcommittee throughout her tenure on the Board. In collaboration 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 chair for the Illinois Association of Colleges of Nursing and as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

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.

Ms. Valerie Ellinger, M.S.N., RN


Nursing and Health

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Valerie Ellinger joined the Benedictine University team in 2011. She currently serves as RN-BSN faculty and the RN-BSN Clinical Coordinator. She enjoys teaching the Older Adult course and the RN-BSN Community & Leadership Clinical Experiences. She also assists RN-BSN students in Clinical Placement. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Nurse Education, at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (2009) and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at McKendree College (2000).

Previously, Ms. Ellinger has taught at the LPN level. Her specialty areas are Acute Care, Emergency and Psychiatric nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Lambda Upsilon and Nu Pi chapters. She works on several committees, including Benedictine University’s Department of Nursing and Health, Curriculum, RN-BSN, DONH Advisory and Nursing Scholarship.

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. Janet LoVerde, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE

RN to BSN Program Director

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-6296  |  Send Dr. LoVerde an Email  |  Office: KN249

Dr. LoVerde joined Benedictine University as Adjunct faculty in the summer of 2018 and was appointed in January 2020 as tenure track Assistant Professor. In September 2020 she assumed the role of Director of the RN-BSN program.  Prior to joining Benedictine Dr. LoVerde taught at Aurora University where she started as Adjunct faculty in the BSN program, was appointed Assistant Professor and advanced to an Associate Professor. Her teaching responsibilities included Coordinating the Community/Public Heath course and teaching Nursing Fundamentals I and II didactic, lab, and clinical.  She was also Adjunct faculty in Elmhurst College’s MSN program.

Dr. LoVerde joined Benedictine following completion of her Ph.D. from Illinois State University with a research focus on nursing education. She received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) from Saint Xavier University. Her master’s degree focused on community health and education. She is Certified as a Nurse Educator (CNE) through the National League of Nursing.

Dr. LoVerde has over 35 years of nursing experience including ICU/CCU. Medical-Surgical nursing, and Home Health Care.

She is currently serving as Vice President of the Lambda-Upsilon at-large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.

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

Assistant Professor

Nursing and Health

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Dr. 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, and academia. She has taught at the ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN and DNP 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 has taught in state psychiatric facilities and coordinated numerous food/clothing drives for patients. She is fluent in Spanish. Gina 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 and a certified nurse educator. 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, the NLN, and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. She is an invited member of the IL APNA Nursing Education Taskforce and was elected as Secretary to the IL APNA Board in 2020. Gina received the 40 Under 40 Award in 2016 through the Illinois Nurses Association. Gina's research and publications are focused on reducing readmissions at home health agencies, schizophrenia and therapeutic relationships, interprofessional relationships in mental health, and faculty caring. She has been a poster presenter and speaker at numerous conferences regarding psychiatric nursing, student advocacy, and home health quality improvement outcomes.

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

Associate 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., RN, NEA-BC, CNE


Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-1933  |  Send Dr. Ritt an Email  |  Office: KN 245

Dr. Elizabeth Ritt, a full-time, tenured professor in the graduate nursing program at Benedictine University, 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 with an emphasis on Leadership and Educational Policy Studies from Northern Illinois University. In addition, she holds certifications as a Nurse Executive-Advanced and Nurse Educator. Dr. Ritt has over 25 years of progressive leadership and teaching experience in higher education, having served as director of education, national health care consultant, department chair, dean, and provost at various institutions. Dr. Ritt maintains executive level expertise in regional, national, and programmatic accreditation; principles of adult learning; strategic and financial planning; assessment and evaluation; faculty development; and online education. She is nationally known for her collaborative and entrepreneurial abilities to build strategic partnerships, develop new and innovative academic programs, and grow robust enrollment across various academic disciplines. Dr. Ritt has presented and published in the areas of faculty development, clinical analytics, and recently completed a research study that examined the identification of post-acute patients at risk for hospital readmission. Dr. Ritt has received a Fulbright Scholarship, numerous professional grants, and served as an evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association. She has been involved with the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) since its inception and has served on the Accreditation, Report Review, and Nominating Committees as well as an on-site evaluator and team leader. Currently, she is serving on the CCNE Board of Commissioners as secretary and faculty representative as well as co-chair of the Report Review Committee.

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


Nursing and Health

Phone: 630-829-1146  |  Send Ms. Young an Email  |  Office: Kindlon 247

Ms. Peggy Young joined Benedictine University full-time in 2015 .However, Ms. Young has been connected to BenU for several years, having completed both Benedictine's RN-BSN completion and MSN online programs. Furthermore, she has been adjunct faculty for BenU 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 improvement.

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, Ms. Young completed a two year term as chair of Leadership Succession for the Lambda Upsilon-at-Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, following service as both vice-president and president of the chapter. 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. Cheryl Bowser-Antonich, M.S.

Coordinator of MSN Operations

Nursing and Health

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

Cheryl brings a solid background relative to clinical affiliation agreements as a component of her more than 22 years of academic administrative experience that include teaching and serving in several positions of increasing responsibility at Triton College. Her background includes service in the United States Air Force as a medical administrative officer, including as a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. She has an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Nursing and Instructor in Technology (AAS) from the Community College of the Air Force, a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Saint Francis, and ABD in Adult Education from NIU.

Ms. Jessica Jauch

Administrative Assistant of Assessment and Technology

Nursing and Health

Phone: (630) 829-1147  |  Send Ms. Jauch an Email

BSN Lisle Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Mary Beth Billie, M.S.N., RN-BC, CCM BSN Nursing and Health
Patricia Brown, DNP, APRN, CCRN-K BSN Nursing and Health
Mercy Chirpich, DNP, RN BSN Nursing and Health
Cheryl Davis, DNP, RN BSN Nursing and Health
Margaret Delaney, Ed.D., RN, PNP-BC BSN Nursing and Health
Martha Hann, MSN, RN BSN Nursing and Health
Sonja Harvey, DNP, RN BSN Nursing and Health
Laura Holland, M.S.N., RN, CNE BSN Nursing and Health
Simi Jesto Joseph, DNP, APN, NP-C BSN Nursing and Health
Dhananjay Joshi, M.S. BSN Nursing and Health
Margaret Kipta, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CRNA BSN Nursing and Health
Ethel Ragland, Ed.D., MN, RN BSN Nursing and Health
Yolanda Sankey-Walton, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC BSN Nursing and Health
Bonnie Schleder, Ed.D., M.S.N., RN BSN Nursing and Health
Barbara Simmons, Ph.D., RN BSN Nursing and Health

MSN Faculty Lecturers

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Name Department Email
Mary Bemker, D.N.Sc., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health
Marti Kessack, Ph.D., M.S.N./Ed, RN MSN Nursing and Health
Emily Keyes, Ph.D., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health
Camille McNicholas, Ph.D., M.S., B.S.N., RN, C.R.N.A., A.P.R.N. MSN Nursing and Health
Sarah Mutschlecner, D.N.P., M.S.N., RN, FNP-BC MSN Nursing and Health
Carol Patton, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, CRNP, Parish Nurse, CNE MSN Nursing and Health
Patricia Shannon, Ph.D., M.S.N., M.A., RN, RNP-BC, CNE MSN Nursing and Health
Theresa Shipps, D.N.Sc., M.S.N., RN MSN Nursing and Health
Judith Treschuk, Ph.D., CNS, RN, CNE MSN Nursing and Health
M. Cecilia Wendler, Ph.D., M.A., RN, NE-BC MSN Nursing and Health
Jasmin Whitfield, D.N.P., M.S.N., MPH, RN MSN Nursing and Health
Department of Nursing and Health
Benedictine University
Contact Us
Lisle, College of DuPage, Morton College, Triton College, Springfield and Decatur cohorts:

Phone: (630) 829-6300

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