After conducting a nationwide search, the UCF College of Nursing has appointed Joellen Edwards to chair of the Department of Nursing Systems. In that role, Edwards will oversee and manage the programs that prepare students for leadership roles within a health care system.
“Her leadership in the fields of health policy and rural health, and within the college make her an ideal candidate for this role,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing.
A nationally known expert in her field, Edwards joined the faculty at the college in 2015 as a professor and serves as the Hugh F. and Jeannette McKean Endowed Chair. Edwards has served as interim chair of the Department of Nursing Systems since October 2017 when the college restructured to more accurately reflect the broader scope of programs and the profession.
For more than two decades, Edwards has influenced health policy, rural health and women’s health issues with her widely published research and by serving on several state and national committees. In rural Appalachian Tennessee, she helped establish a long-standing network of nurse-managed clinics that now provide care for thousands of underserved patients annually. Edwards is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and is a member of Sigma, the international honor society of nursing, the American Nurses Association and the National Rural Health Association.
Edwards has 40 years of experience in academia, serving as an educator and in various leadership roles. Prior to UCF, Edwards was a professor of graduate programs and associate dean for research at East Tennessee State University College of Nursing. She earned her BSN and doctorate in health care administration from Ohio University, and her MSN from West Virginia University.