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April 22, 2021

April 22, 2021

April 22, 2021

Provost Mardell Wilson, EdD, and I are pleased to announce that the Rev. Kevin FitzGerald, SJ, PhD, PhD, the John A. Creighton University Professor, associate professor of medicine, and chair of the Department of Medical Humanities in the School of Medicine, has agreed to serve as interim dean of the Graduate School, effective July 1, 2021, and until a permanent replacement is named.

As you may remember, last September, we announced the decision by Gail Jensen, PhD, to step down as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Professional Studies on June 30, 2021, after 15 years of service in the position.  

With Provost Wilson’s arrival in October, both she and I have been engaged in conversations among the various programs and reflection regarding the future of the Graduate School and how it can continue to contribute to the advancement of Creighton University. Based upon thoughtful information and observations, it has been determined that an interim dean who can help to work with programs that may have greater discipline-specific affinity, as well as opportunity for growth and development, transition to units throughout the University for enhanced synergies. As we recognize there are many details associated with this work, Fr. FitzGerald brings knowledge, expertise, and a commitment to fostering a positive environment to support this work.  

In addition to these efforts, Fr. FitzGerald will help to guide discussions that help to inform the future composition of the Graduate School, which will be used as we work through the process to search for a permanent leader for the unit in the coming months.  

Dean Jensen has notably served as dean of both the Graduate School and the College of Professional Studies. While the common thread among these two units has been the adult learner, we continue to investigate how the College of Professional Studies may evolve based upon more targeted and strategic efforts associated with lifelong learning. In the interim, Cindy Costanzo, PhD, senior associate dean for the Graduate School, will continue to provide support to the Graduate School as well as the programs and auxiliary functions of the College of Professional Studies while the unit’s scope and focus are evaluated and refined to meet the evolving growth initiatives planned for Creighton’s future with adult learners.

As previously announced, Dr. Jensen will continue to serve as vice provost for Learning and Assessment, which includes oversight of the University’s Higher Learning Commission accreditation. She also will continue in her role as interim director of the Center for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CIPER) until a permanent director is named.

Provost Wilson and I would like to thank Fr. FitzGerald, Dr. Jensen and Dr. Costanzo for their continued committed service to the University and for being flexible and accommodating during this important period of evaluation and discernment as we work to position all units for continued success. As we continue to develop greater clarity regarding both the directions and permanent leadership for the Graduate School and the College of Professional Studies, we will share more information with the campus.

Sincerely,
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD