Dr. Dena Evans earned her doctoral degree in Education from North Carolina State University. She holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Nursing from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Gardner-Webb University. Dr. Evans, who has been the Director of the School of Nursing since 2017, is a Wharton Fellow and is nationally certified as a nurse educator and a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL).
Dr. Evans’s leadership capacity has been recognized by multiple awards and honors, including the Emerging Leaders Institute and the American Association of Colleges of Nurses Wharton Fellow in 2018. The theme of her leadership throughout her tenure to date has focused on strategies to enhance opportunities for disadvantaged or underrepresented students maximizing their success and creating a more diverse workforce. Her scholarship reflected this passion beginning with her dissertation focusing on barriers to minority student success in baccalaureate nursing programs. Her research has been published in several prestigious journals, including the Journal of Professional Nursing, Journal of Nursing Education, and the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. She has obtained multiple grants to support diversity initiatives, such as the most recently funded grant from the Hearst Foundation, Pathway for Diverse Health Professionals. She expanded this support for diversity to recognizing barriers faced by students with silent disabilities, such as those on the Autism Spectrum. Overall, she has had over 3.4 million dollars in funding to support disadvantaged students. More recently, she has implemented a study on post-pandemic stress levels among faculty and staff working within academic units preparing practitioners.
State and National Service:
Dr. Evans is actively involved in professional service, as evidence by her leadership roles within the North Carolina Nurses’ Association and current role as President of the North Carolina Council of Deans and Directors. She serves as an AACN Grassroots liaison, is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Theta Tau. She has served as a member of the North Carolina Alliance for Health Professions Diversity. Currently, she is a manuscript reviewer for the International Editorial Review Board of Journal of Nursing Education and Practice and the Journal of Nursing Management. She is also a grant reviewer for HRSA.
Dr. Evans’ research interests lie in the fields of adult education, leadership, and well-being. Specifically, Dr. Evans’ research focuses on conflict management, resilience, civility, and academic and social barriers that impede the success of underrepresented, underserved, or disabled students.
Teaching: Dr. Evans’s teaching experience spans courses such as Program Evaluation, Nursing Leadership, Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice, Pharmacology, Advanced Concepts of Pharmacology, Leadership in Clinical Microsystems, Care Environment and Clinical Outcomes Management, Community Health Nursing, Foundations of Professional Nursing Practice, Curriculum Theory and Design in Nursing.