Kathleen Valentine, professor and chief academic nursing officer for the Clemson University School of Nursing since 2016, will leave the director position and return to the School’s faculty to focus on research, teaching and outreach, effective June 30.
John Whitcomb, professor and director of undergraduate programs for the School of Nursing, will serve as acting director as a national search takes place to fill the position.
Valentine oversaw significant growth in recruitment, retention and cultivation of a research and clinical learning environment resulting in increased research funding; a pipeline of clinically prepared nurses, DNPs and Ph.D.s; and increased viability of Clemson’s nursing programs as recognized through its designation as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing.
In 2018, the University opened a 78,000-square-foot education and research facility in collaboration with Prisma Health-Upstate at its Greenville Memorial Hospital campus, allowing the School of Nursing to expand its baccalaureate program from 64 to 176 first-year students, thus directly addressing workforce shortages in South Carolina.
Other highlights during Valentine’s tenure include:
- A $2.7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help increase the nurse practitioner workforce in six Upstate South Carolina counties.
- Graduation of the first students in the School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
- A coveted 10-year accreditation from the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education for its Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.
- Promotion of health equity and health care equity through investment in the Center for Research on Health Disparities.
- Creation of the Appalachian American Alliance of Nurse Practitioners, a networking and educational resource for nurse practitioners in rural Appalachia and an annual conference for alliance members.
- Formation of a Leadership and Innovation in Health + Design Certificate program in partnership with the Clemson University School of Architecture, and an annual International Nursing Conference for Excellence in Healthcare Design through the Academy for Excellence in Nursing Design.
- Renovation of a state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Research Center Simulation Lab through a generous donor gift.
- Increased scholarship funds for traditionally underrepresented students.
- Celebration of the School’s 50th anniversary and the creation of a Hall of Fame of distinguished faculty, alumni and supporters.
“Dr. Valentine helped the School continue a trajectory of accomplishments that equipped students to make a difference and empowered faculty to engage in valuable research,” said Leslie Hossfeld, dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, which houses the School of Nursing. “This work is another fine example of the College’s focus on building people and communities, and I am grateful for Dr. Valentine’s service to the School, College and Clemson University.”
Valentine said that the unique experience of leading in a partnership between a health care system and an academic enterprise over the past six years has amplified her interest in and desire to impact the design of future health care systems. The need to optimize equitable health care delivery in our communities became especially imperative during the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
“Leading in a learning health system requires committed and talented faculty, staff and supportive leadership,” Valentine said. “Such systems create new knowledge, transition that knowledge to practice, and create the conduit toward solutions for the next generation health care workforce. I have witnessed Dr. Whitcomb embrace this model and have long recognized and supported his development as a leader, and I am confident in his ability to continue the success of the School, College and University during this transition.”
Before coming to Clemson, Valentine served as dean of nursing at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. She also served as associate dean for clinical affairs and community engagement at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions; associate dean for outreach at the Florida State University College of Nursing; and department chair, director of evaluation, and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
Valentine has held various clinical positions, including director of the Memory and Wellness Center and Diabetes Center at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. She has also led regional and national initiatives to advance professional nursing practice and consulted with national and international health care organizations.
Valentine served over the years as president of the International Association for Human Caring and the founding editor of the International Journal for Human Caring. She is also the author of the book “Health Care System Transformation for Nursing and Health Care Leaders: Implementing a Culture of Caring.”
Valentine holds a Ph.D. in human service program evaluation and a Master of Science in health administration from Cornell University, a Master of Science in psychiatric and mental health nursing from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
The Clemson University School of Nursing is part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven disciplines – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission of “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.
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