Bernaix Named SIUE School of Nursing Dean

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Dr. Laura Bernaix has been recommended as the new dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing. Bernaix has served as interim dean since June 2014.

Dr. Laura Bernaix, dean of the SIUE School of Nursing

Dr. Bernaix is a proven leader, a strong University citizen and a champion for SIUE’s goals and values.

Dr. Laura Bernaix has been recommended as the new dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing. Bernaix has served as interim dean since June 2014, and her permanent appointment is contingent upon SIU Board of Trustees approval.

Bernaix is an alumnus of SIUE and brings 27 years of academic experience as a faculty member at the University. During those years, she has provided significant service to the School and to the University in a variety of roles. She served as chair of the Department of Primary Care and Health Systems Nursing from 2009 to 2013 when her role expanded to also serve as associate dean.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the School of Nursing,” said Bernaix. “I am grateful to be able to work alongside the School’s exceptional faculty, staff and students, as well as our community and agency partners, in order to prepare expert nurse clinicians, educators, administrators and leaders for the region.”

During Bernaix’s time as interim dean, the School has experienced continued growth and received numerous external accolades. Her efforts in developing corporate partnerships and expanding the accelerated online RN to BS program have helped position the School as a leader in the field and the region. In addition to its outstanding array of bachelor’s, master’s and DNP programs, the School’s support for experiential learning and service at the East St. Louis WE CARE clinic are important to the School’s success and impact. Bernaix has also supported the Student Nurse Achievement Program (SNAP), which serves as a model initiative for supporting an inclusive and diverse student body.

“Dr. Bernaix is a proven leader, a strong University citizen and a champion for SIUE’s goals and values,” said Denise Cobb, PhD, interim provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “Her leadership has been instrumental in the School of Nursing’s and the University’s continued success. I am grateful for her collegiality, her innovative spirit and her commitment to our students, faculty and staff.

“Furthermore, she understands the critical role that SIUE has to play in helping the region and the nation meet the nursing shortage and strengthen healthcare education. I am pleased that she will remain part of SIUE’s academic leadership team.”

“SIUE is fortunate to have Dr. Bernaix leading our School of Nursing,” added SIUE Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen. “I have worked with Dr. Bernaix in a number of capacities, and I have been singularly impressed with her skills and dedication as a teacher, scholar, administrator and colleague.”

Among her many service activities within the School, Bernaix has served on the Research and Grant Review Committee, the Graduate Curriculum Committee, the P&T (promotion and tenure) Committee, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Task Force and several key search committees. She has chaired the Dean’s Advisory Committee, the Doctor of Nursing Practice Project Committee and the School of Nursing Faculty Council.

At the University level, Bernaix served on the Faculty Senate from 2002-05 and the Graduate Course Review Committee from 2003-10. She has been a counselor in the Peer Consulting/Mentoring Program since 2010, participated on the New REALITY Experiential Learning Work Group, and served as a STEP Review Panel member, a board member to the Undergraduate Research Academy, and a committee member on the University Fellowship and Scholarship Committee.

Bernaix is acknowledged professionally for her extensive service to the national Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nursing Research Advisory Panel. She was a co-principal investigator for the NIH National Children’s Study from 2009-13 and has presented her work at international and national conferences.

Bernaix has been published in various professional journals and is a reviewer for two maternal-newborn nursing journals and one textbook publisher. She is a Fellow in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Leadership for Academic Nursing Program and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing since 2009. In February 2014, she served as a reviewer for the 2014 NIH NRCS Study Section.

Bernaix replaces Dr. Anne G. Perry who retired in 2014 after 10 years at SIUE.

The SIUE School of Nursing’s fully accredited programs are committed to creating excellence in nursing leadership through innovative teaching, evidence-based practice, quality research, patient advocacy and community service. Enrolling nearly 1,400 students in its baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders in pursuit of shaping the nursing profession and impacting the health care environment. SIUE’s undergraduate nursing programs on the Edwardsville campus and the regional campus in Carbondale help to solve the region’s shortage of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and enhance the quality of nursing practice within all patient service venues. The School’s graduate programs prepare nurses for advanced roles in clinical practice, administration and education.

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