Fairmont State University has welcomed two new deans to campus. Dr. Van Dempsey has been named dean of the School of Education and Dr. Sharon Boni has been named dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration.

Dempsey received his B.A., M.A.T. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an associate professor of Social and Cultural Foundations at West Virginia University and director of the Benedum Collaborative and the Benedum Center for Educational Renewal before coming to FSU. His areas of specialization are teacher education, education policy, qualitative research and ethnography.

Dempsey directed the Benedum Collaborative, a school-university partnership between WVU and 28 West Virginia public schools, for eight years.

The partnership, one of the oldest in the U.S., includes a collaboratively designed and implemented five-year teacher education program. While at WVU, Dempsey’s primary teaching responsibilities were in teacher education, including teacher leadership, the socio-cultural context of schooling and action research.

His primary areas of research and publication have included school desegregation, partnership development and school renewal. Before becoming a faculty member at WVU, he was a high school social studies teacher in North Carolina. He and his wife Jaci have three daughters.

Dempsey said a major part of his focus at FSU will be teacher education. His work at WVU took him into the public schools on a regular basis and he plans to continue that practice here.

“A major influence on my decision to take the position here as dean is the rich history of the institution in public education and in the state and region in general,” Dempsey said. “FSU has an extremely loyal following, particularly in the teaching profession, and I have always been impressed by that. I think FSU is in a unique position to couple high quality academic programs in education with the opportunity and ability to positively influence public education in West Virginia.”

Boni received her B.S. degree in nursing from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, her master of science in nursing from WVU; and her doctorate in nursing from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Boni has worked in nursing and nursing education since 1972. Before accepting her new position at FSU, Boni was associate dean for student services at the School of Nursing at Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y.

Prior to holding that position, she was a professor of nursing and chaired the Department of Nursing at Alderson-Broaddus. From 1996-2004, she was chairperson of the Division of Health Sciences at Alderson-Broaddus and from 1996-1999, she served as Project Director of North Central WV Nursing Work Force Network.

She has also worked as a hospice nurse, as a member of the Nursing Field Faculty, WV Rural Health Partnership, Mountain Health Partners, in Buckhannon; an adjunct associate professor of nursing at the School of Nursing at WVU; a staff nurse in the Critical Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon; a staff nurse in the Special Care Units at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins and at Broaddus Hospital and as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at West Virginia Wesleyan College at Buckhannon.

Boni said she never dreamed she would be replacing her colleague, Dr. Deb Kisner, as dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration. Kisner retired from the position last year, capping a 30-year career at Fairmont State. Boni has been acquainted with Kisner through the Association of Deans and Directors of Nursing Education in West Virginia.

A native of West Virginia, Boni is happy to be returning to her home state. She has children and grandchildren in Fairmont, Philippi and Reedsville. The opportunity here came at the right time.

“I knew this was a very strong program. She (Kisner) did an excellent job, and I can’t think of a better opportunity,” Boni said.

Boni said her goal at FSU, for the foreseeable future, will be to expand the existing programs, particularly the baccalaureate nursing program.

She is also looking forward to making education more accessible to non-traditional students by developing delivery systems that include online courses and weekend programs.

Boni and her husband Drew have three children, four grandchildren and one step-granddaughter.

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