COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy ciu.edu) — Three recently appointed deans have articulated the road ahead for CIU’s College of Education, School of Nursing and College of Arts & Sciences. All three bring a high standard for academics, a wealth of experience in their field, and a desire for CIU students to be educated from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.
CIU alumnus Dr. Michael Johnson is the new dean for the College of Education. He has over 30 years of education experience including six years as Alaska’s commissioner of education. He has also served as a superintendent, principal, district curriculum and staff development director, elementary teacher, and special education program assistant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible from CIU (’94), a master’s degree from CIU in elementary education (’97), and a doctorate of philosophy in education and intercultural studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Dr. Johnson’s vision:
CIU’s College of Education (CoE) has a worldwide heritage of preparing educators to impact the nations for Christ. Dr. Milt Uecker and Dr. Connie Mitchell have served as CoE deans for the past 30 years. Following in their footsteps, the faculty, staff, and I will continue to prepare educators as ministering professionals who think biblically about the nature of students, instructional strategies and curricular content. We desire to support CoE students to know Christ and make Him known through partnerships with mission agencies, Christian schools, public schools and home schools.
The dean of the new CIU School of Nursing is Dr. Jill McElheny. She has nearly 30 years of nursing experience. She came to CIU from Colorado Christian University where she served as the director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program and professor of Nursing. McElheny is board-certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. She considers nursing a calling and a ministry and serves with Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, where she has traveled to many countries around the world. She expresses a deep desire to lead CIU nursing students to serve as the hands and feet of Christ as they care for patients.
Dr. McElheny’s vision:
The vision of the CIU School of Nursing is to prepare nurses to humbly serve and care for others in their time of need while modeling a Christ-centered compassion and empathy. Our mission is to educate nurses from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ. We want our graduates to strive for academic excellence and become Christian leaders with a heart for missions in their local communities and around the globe. The ethos of nursing is one of caring, and caring forms the basis of reaching someone for Christ. Nurses provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care on a daily basis and are invited to enter into the patient’s most personal needs as the realities of mortality, loss and eternity sink in. Nurses serve Christ by serving those who are suffering.
The new dean of the College of Arts & Sciences is Dr. David A. DeWitt. He is a biomedical scientist with over 25 years of higher education experience including nine years chairing the department of biology and chemistry at Liberty University. He has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and has coauthored articles and published in peer reviewed science journals with an emphasis on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. He has taught at the Institute for Creation Research and authored numerous articles for Answers in Genesis. His book, “Unraveling the Origins Controversy: Science and the Bible Confirm Creation” has been used at several universities in origins classes.
Dr. DeWitt’s vision:
I am excited to work with chairs and program directors in the College of Arts & Sciences to ensure our programs are current, have the latest technology and are attractive to students. I am grateful to work with a flexible group of faculty who strive for excellence. In addition to new programs such as Biomedical Sciences and Health Sciences, which prepare students for medical school and physical therapy school, we are expanding our offerings in the Communication program. We are emphasizing employable skills to better prepare graduates for positions of influence from which they can reach the nations with the message of Christ.