Radford University announces selection of Johnnie Sue Wijewardane, Ph.D. as inaugural Dean of the School of Nursing
Following a national search, Radford University has announced the selection of Johnnie Sue Wijewardane, Ph.D. to lead the School of Nursing in the role of Dean effective August 3, 2020. She currently serves as Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, located in Jackson, Mississippi, where she also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Prior to Dr. Wijewardane’s current work in an academic health center, she served in a variety of academic and administrative roles, including Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, and Chair of the Graduate Nursing Department in the College of Nursing at the Mississippi University for Women, located in Columbus, Mississippi.
Dr. Wijewardane is highly-regarded in the field of nursing having been recognized as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Before entering academia, Dr. Wijewardane spent more than a decade as a nurse in a variety of clinical and hospital settings.
In being selected for this critical role, Dr. Wijewardane shared, “I am honored and humbled to be selected as the inaugural Dean of the School of Nursing at Radford University. The institution has a rich tradition of excellence in nursing education and clinical engagement. I am proud to join the faculty of Radford University, and I look forward to leading the School of Nursing into the future.”
Interim Provost Joseph P. Scartelli, Ph.D. said, “I would like to congratulate Dr. Wijewardane on her selection. She will be an excellent addition to the outstanding group of leaders and scholars at our University. Without question, she brings truly impressive levels of experience and expertise, as well as a passion for the study and practice of nursing.”
Incoming Provost Carolyn “Lyn” Ringer Lepre, Ph.D., who will officially join the Radford family on July 1, 2020, said, “I had the honor of meeting Dr. Wijewardane during the in-depth interview process in which she demonstrated her unmatched sincerity and unparalleled professionalism. I look forward to having her serve as a central part of the academic enterprise at Radford University in the months and years to come.”
President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. said, “This is an exciting and pivotal time in the School of Nursing’s history as it recently became the largest academic school at Radford University with the establishment of Radford University Carilion located in Roanoke. I am confident that, under the leadership of Dr. Wijewardane, the Radford University School of Nursing is poised for continued success and expanded impact in the region, the Commonwealth, and beyond.”
Through the diligent efforts of the Search Committee, which was led by Assistant Professor of Nursing and RN to BSN Coordinator Katie Katz, D.N.P., a robust search process was utilized with broad campus engagement in partnership with R. William Funk and Associates. In reflecting on the extensive process, Dr. Katz shared, “The members of the Search Committee worked incredibly hard on this search for an inaugural Dean of the School of Nursing. Numerous faculty have commented on how pleased they were to have three very strong finalists to interview for this important new role. Our search had unexpected modifications due to unprecedented changes brought on by COVID-19, but the process remained very thorough and rigorous. I want to thank the Search Committee and University administration for the dedication, deliberation, and thoughtful care that they put into this entire process. I look forward to working with Dean Wijewardane. We are lucky to have her leading and supporting the School of Nursing as it continues to grow.”
Dr. Wijewardane received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in emergency and trauma management, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing with additional focus in psychometrics and evaluation, family and child obesity, and self-efficacy from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.