By Nicolas Rontanini
As the fall semester comes into view, students are starting to prepare for what the new academic year may bring. However, some people on campus have already been hard at work throughout the summer, including Deborah Hunt, PhD ’12, the new Dr. Betty L. Forest Dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health (CNPH). Hunt started at Adelphi on July 25 after a national search. With many new responsibilities ahead, Hunt, who earned her PhD in nursing with a minor in education from Adelphi, is developing ways to prepare students with updates to the curriculum and plans for student activities should remote classes make a comeback.
Part of how she plans to incorporate these updates is through practice for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses or NCLEX-RN exam. In recent years, according to Hunt, the test content has been changed with updated questions. While the exam keeps questions that were present beforehand, students might not be prepared for the new Next Generation questions.
“The way the NCLEX exam, or RN licensing exam, takes place is based on Bloom's taxonomy, with application and analysis types of questions, but they are also adding now Next Gen questions to measure clinical judgment,” said Hunt. “So we will be continuing to prepare faculty and students to take a different kind of exam.”
However, this is not the only update Hunt plans to integrate. In her previous role as associate dean for the nursing program at Mercy College (where she was the program’s academic leader for continuing students from the college’s New Rochelle campus, and for the Accelerated Second Degree in Nursing pre-licensure program at its Bronx campus) she established a program known as the Nurse Advocacy Forum. It offered mentoring, networking and support for students and alumni. This included a guest speaker and round robin sharing with advice given to students on topics like the NCLEX exam and preparation. According to Hunt, the group also helped students who may have had a difficult time transitioning into a new professional role.
“The transition period is challenging for most of us, and there’s a lot of learning that has to take place,” Hunt said. “The forum, in a very round robin type of thing, helped students or recent alums have support for ‘what if you were having a difficult transition’?”
Hunt’s ideas for implementing academic initiatives extend to updating the curriculum to fit an online format should it be necessary. On the bright side, Covid restrictions have been relaxed in New York. The university is monitoring the situation to avoid returning to purely online instruction.
However, Hunt is prepared should that become a reality for the nursing program.
“We have to be ready to pivot in the split second, and so if we had to pivot in the split second, then of course we have our online capability to teach our didactic theory classes,” Hunt said. “In addition to our in-person sims [simulations], we have virtual simulations and case studies so that if we had to pivot to no person at all, then we always have plans in place to make sure the students can still continue their education.”
As of now, Hunt celebrates the initiatives the program has implemented, and looks forward to working with staff and students.
“I am looking forward to getting to know our students more closely and collaborating with the faculty and staff with the CNPH and the entire university to continue to strengthen our programs and develop new ones,” Hunt said.