FAU’s College of Nursing has a new associate dean for academics

Regina Kaza

FAU has brought in Karethy Edwards all the way from the University of Oklahoma, to be the new Associate Dean for academic programs in the College of Nursing. Photo courtesy of Karethy Edwards.

Dr. Karethy Edwards is bringing her 35 years of experience in nursing education half way across the country to right here at FAU.

Edwards is currently transitioning from her job as professor and co-director for the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Cultural Competency and Healthcare Excellence to her position as the associate dean for academics in FAU’s College of Nursing. As the associate dean, she will be responsible for overseeing the college’s academic programs, preparing educational grants and managing the budget. Edwards has received over six awards in her field including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Black Nursing Faculty, and has four degrees up to the Ph.D level, according to an FAU press release. FAU’s caring environment and diverse student body are what made her want to take the job.

“It’s really just about caring. To have a school that can focus on that, I wanted to be a part of that,” Edwards said. She thinks her background in leadership and years of experience are what got her the job. Apart from being a professor and administrator, she is a co-editor of a medical journal that focuses on diversity called the Journal of Cultural Diversity: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Edwards has also worked on improving Native American health and creating a better diabetes prevention program at UO.

“I think that’s what people liked, that I have a background in leadership and understanding in nursing education at a Ph.D level,” Edwards said. In her time at UO, Edwards advised other universities about how to make their educational programs more inclusive and diverse.

Edwards mentioned she started a social competence program at UO’s College of Nursing. This program teaches nursing students how to talk to patients so that culture differences or lack of education doesn’t interfere with the patients’ care.

“When people get home they don’t understand how to take the medication. If the instructions are written at a twelfth grade level and the patient reads at a fourth grade level, then there’s an issue,” said Edwards. The program prepares nurses for these situations and helps them understand diversity within the nursing field.

Edwards doesn’t have plans to bring these types of programs, or any other ideas, to FAU’s College of Nursing yet. She plans to adjust and get to know the university first.

“The best thing I can do is be supportive of the faculty in the development of their scholarship and to create opportunities for them,” Edwards said. “In a new position, you should find out what’s working before you start changing things.”

She plans to find out what students in the College need, and improve communication between students and administrators.

“I’d like to give a voice to students to find out what’s working for them and be better in terms of creating opportunity for students to grow,” Edwards said.

Edwards will start working at FAU on March 5 and other faculty members are excited to have her join the team.

“We’re happy to welcome Dr. Edwards to the FAU family,” Provost Brenda Claiborne said. “Her expertise as a researcher and administrator in the field of health equity and cultural competence will serve as a valuable resource for our nursing faculty and their colleagues throughout the community.”