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Widener names new deans for School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences

school of nursing, college of arts and sciences, widener dean, david leaman, Huey-Shys Chen

Dr. Huey-Shys Chen and Dr. David E. Leaman will start in their positions on July 1, 2018.

Widener University has named Huey-Shys Chen, Ph.D., R.N., MCHES, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing and David E. Leaman, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Both will assume their new positions on July 1, 2018.

"I am delighted to welcome Dr. Chen and Dr. Leaman to Widener University," said President Julie Wollman. "Both have strong backgrounds and extensive experiences that make them excellent choices to lead the School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. They are dedicated, proven leaders who will enhance the Widener community and further our strong commitment to academic excellence, student engagement, diversity and global perspectives and career preparation.

Dr. Huey-Shys Chen

Chen comes to Widener from the University of Toledo where she most recently served as associate dean of research and scholarship.

A 30-year veteran within the field of nursing, Chen will join Widener as an accomplished educator, researcher and leader in academics. Chen joined the University of Toledo faculty in 2012 and held leadership roles such as department chair of health promotion outcomes, systems, and policy, director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program, and then associate dean of research and scholarship. Chen also played a critical role in the growth of the undergraduate honors program as well as with the graduate student research program, in addition to faculty development in extramural grant seeking.

"I am honored to join the Widener community as dean of the School of Nursing," Chen said. "I believe my professional values perfectly align with those ingrained in both the nursing program and throughout the university. I look forward to working with the dedicated administration, faculty and staff to build upon the school's strong foundation as a leader in nursing education and research. Teaching the next generation of nursing professionals is my passion and I am excited to continue fulfilling it at Widener."

Throughout her career, Chen has been a champion of student success and academic program development. Her commitment to the development of high-impact programs has provided nursing students with the experiences and tools they need to succeed in the field. Similarly, Chen is an advocate for international learning opportunities. She has spearheaded partnerships with international universities and created short- and long-term exchange programs for faculty and students. This complements Widener's commitment to providing students with transformational experiences through global engagement opportunities.

In her research, Chen uses community-based participatory research to focus on the primary prevention of health risks among children and adolescents. Chen's additional areas of research include instrument development, psychometric validation, smoking and HIV prevention, patient-centered outcomes, and quality improvement.

As nursing dean, Chen will join a program that has garnered national recognition and experienced continued growth and development. The school was recently designated a Center of Excellence for Advancing the Science of Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing – one of only six in the nation. In line with the designation, the school also launched the Leadership Center for Nursing Education Research to advance rigorous educational and educational-clinical research, provide expert research resources to nursing professionals and the nursing education community, and offer faculty development programs for aspiring new and mid-career nursing education researchers.

Chen received a Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin, and her master's and bachelor of science degrees in nursing from Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. In 2011, she was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. In 2016, she was named a Fulbright Specialist Scholar by the Institute of International Education, and has been the recipient of numerous research and programmatic grants from CDC, NIH, and HRSA and awards from American Public Health Association Public Health Nursing Section and Society for Public Health Education.

Prior to her time at the University of Toledo, Chen held faculty positions at University of Central Florida and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Chen's headshot is available here.

Dr. David E. Leaman

Leaman comes to Widener from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he has been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2014.

While at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Leaman was responsible for the supervision of 26 departments and programs and approximately 300 faculty and staff. He also previously served in administrative roles at Northeastern Illinois University as an associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of political science.

"I am delighted to join the Widener team as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences," Leaman said. "I was impressed by how faculty and students at Widener University embrace the values of civic engagement and applied learning. I want to support Widener students as they pursue global learning experiences, faculty-student collaborative research, hands-on internships and co-ops, and leadership opportunities because these are the types of experiences that changed my life as an undergraduate. Finally, I look forward to working with Widener's excellent, creative and dedicated Arts and Sciences faculty."

On top of his experience in higher education leadership, Leaman brings to Widener impressive international teaching and research experience. He has extensive experience in the politics of globalization and comparative politics, having lived, traveled and studied throughout the world, particularly in Latin America. He also has taught and researched in the areas of the politics of human security, American government and policies, post-authoritarian and post-conflict politics, and theories of democratization.

While at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he organized partnership-building visits to other colleges and championed diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as global partnerships. For example, Leaman helped to facilitate expansion of the university's exchange program with Chinese universities, and in a 2016 visit, helped to negotiate details of an agreement with Changshu Institute of Technology in China.

As dean at Widener, Leaman will lead the university's largest college, which houses more than 30 fields of study in the liberal arts, including a number of interdisciplinary, pre-professional and graduate programs. Rooted in a strong liberal arts tradition, the College of Arts and Sciences has long been a place where Widener students can explore many diverse interests, while progressing toward a degree and solid preparation for careers in a wide array of fields.

Leaman received both his master's degree and Ph.D. from Cornell University in government (political science) and a bachelor of arts in history from Goshen College. He was awarded a Fulbright Grant for Graduate Study Abroad by the Institute of International Education's Council for International Exchange of Scholars and has been the recipient of numerous research and programmatic grants.

In addition to his time at Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Northeastern Illinois University, he was a visiting assistant professor at Bucknell University, was an instructor at Muskegon Community College, and taught English at the Thomas English Institute in Saitama, Japan. Leaman's headshot is available here.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,