Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases

Millikin University's School of Nursing (SON) graduate program is ranked among the Best Nursing Schools in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 edition of "Best Graduate Schools."

For the newly expanded U.S. News Best Nursing Schools rankings, 503 nursing schools with master's or doctoral programs accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing were surveyed. Of those, 273 responded, and 246 were eligible to be included in the U.S. News rankings of master's programs.

"In 2011, Millikin's School of Nursing graduate program was ranked #193 and this year, Millikin is ranked #165. Given the graduate program's short existence, this is an incredible accomplishment," said Dr. Pamela Lindsey, director of Millikin's School of Nursing. "The administration and faculty who envisioned the SON graduate program just 10 years ago are to be commended, as well as the ongoing accomplishments of faculty for creating exciting and innovative programs at both the master's and doctoral level. This national recognition acknowledges the achievements and future successes of our students and alumni."

The U.S. News rankings of master's programs are based on a weighted average of several indicators including quality assessment, student selectivity and achievement, faculty resources and research activity. Data was collected in fall 2014 and early 2015.

"National recognition from a well-known publication like U.S. News & World Report for Millikin's graduate program in nursing is exciting, but confirms what we already know: Millikin University prepares students extraordinarily well for personal and professional success," said Dr. Jeffery Aper, Millikin provost. "Millikin's nursing faculty is an extraordinarily capable, hard-working and effective community of scholars, teachers and devoted practitioners of the art and science of nursing."

U.S. News & World Report's 2016 edition of "Best Graduate Schools" is available online at and on newsstands Tuesday, April 7.

Millikin University's nursing undergraduate and Master of Science in Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students entering the School of Nursing may earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Millikin's School of Nursing prepares graduates to practice evidenced-based care within an ethically-grounded framework, to engage in life-long learning, and to become leaders in the nursing profession. For more information on Millikin University's School of Nursing, visit

Dr. Aper added, "We are immensely proud of Millikin's nursing faculty and of their students, who make the most of the opportunities for learning and growth their professors provide. In the end, it's our students and their many successes that are ultimately our greatest claim to distinction."

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features "Performance Learning," a unique learning approach offering students the chance to build the confidence to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. Last year, 99 percent of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional/graduate school within six months of graduation. More information is available at
Dr. Florence Folami, Millikin University associate professor of nursing, and her husband Blessing Adeoye, have established Cross of Christ Ministries in their home country of Nigeria, beginning with a church in 2006 and continuing with a 10-bed hospital last spring to provide a preferential healthcare option for the poor.

Adeoye moved back to Nigeria to help lead the church and Dr. Folami leads the health center while teaching at Millikin. The couple also plans to open an orphanage this summer.

Elevated mortality rates and the lack of access to quality care make the healthcare system in Nigeria a global concern. Based in Akute, Nigeria, Cross of Christ Health Center provides an array of coordinated services to improve overall well-being and life circumstances.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's article on how Dr. Folami and her husband are making an impact in Nigeria.
Millikin University Instructor of Nursing Pamela Laskowski '89, MSN '07, has been awarded the 2015 Illinois Nurse Educator Fellowship from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). Laskowski is one of 22 select faculty members in the state to receive the award.

The purpose of the Nurse Educator Fellowship Program is to ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing faculty at institutions of higher learning that award degrees in nursing. Awards will be used to supplement the salaries of the nursing faculty selected for the Fellowship.

"The Fellowship is an honorarium that recognizes hard-working educators, and it honors those that are committed to health education policy," said Laskowski. "It's an honor to be accepted as a recipient based on my credentials."

Professor Laskowski joined Millikin University's School of Nursing faculty in 2008. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Millikin in 1989 and her Master of Science in Nursing in the Nurse Educator Track in 2007. Her teaching specialties include evidence-based teaching in nursing education, barriers to nursing education, and psychiatric nursing.

"Professor Laskowski has been a valued member of the faculty at Millikin University since 2008 with a primary teaching focus in psychiatric and mental health nursing," said Dr. Pamela Lindsey, director of Millikin's School of Nursing. "I had the opportunity to co-teach the psychiatric nursing course with her and witnessed her commitment to student learning outcomes through use of innovative teaching approaches."

The Fellowship will provide Professor Laskowski the opportunity to further develop her research on the best practices in nursing education.

"My research is geared toward the best practices of teaching and learning in nursing education," said Laskowski. "I've always been an advocate for patients, nurses and students, and I believe this fellowship program is important, especially for those who are committed to nursing education."

Dr. Lindsey added, "She is highly motivated and extremely passionate about developing and delivering a high quality, evidence-based nursing education. She is dedicated to student success as demonstrated by the support and mentoring she provides students inside and outside the classroom environment."

For further information on Millikin University's School of Nursing, visit

Millikin University's School of Education, in conjunction with members of Millikin's Illinois Education Association (IEA) chapter, presented its first annual Millikin Education Conference for Future Educators on Oct. 22. Geared toward high school students, the conference featured sessions that explored different topics in education and Project-Based Learning. High School students from four different schools in the Decatur community attended the conference.

"In terms of the conference, we wanted to reach out to local high school students who were interested in a career in education," said Dr. Denice Love, Millikin assistant professor of education. "We wanted to talk about important topics of education as a service to the students, and also show them what an outstanding program we have here at Millikin."

Each conference session offered engaging activities centered on a specific topic. Topics included "The Gamification of Learning in the Diverse Classroom," "Working with English Language Learners," "The Learning Environment," "Millikin Early Childhood Education," and "Popcorn Can Help Us Learn."

"We want to let people know about the innovative, exciting things that are happening in classrooms today and here at Millikin," said Dr. Love. "For instance, 'Gamification of Learning' discussed how teachers are using gaming to engage students in learning. We also had two Millikin professors talk about Early Childhood Education, diversity in classrooms, and how to effectively work with students who may also come from homes where English is not their first language."

As part of the "Popcorn" session, Dr. Ray Boehmer, Millikin professor of science education, conducted an experiment using popcorn and water to demonstrate the concepts of volume, density and mass. The attendees enjoyed seeing how to make a lesson engaging by participating in one.

Millikin students from the IEA chapter also shared their thoughts on studying Early Childhood Education, and answered questions from the high school students about Performance Learning and Millikin's School of Education.

The mission of the Millikin IEA chapter is to help prepare Millikin education majors for life in the education field through networking and conferencing.

"The students had a lot of questions and they took in a lot of information," said senior Kim Steele, an elementary education major from Wheaton, Ill., and president of Millikin's IEA chapter. "I think the conference helped them learn more about the education field."

The conference concluded with students touring Dennis-Millikin Elementary School, and learning more about the partnership as well as Project-Based Learning.

Steele added, "It's important for the students to be open to all the different aspects of education. As they start taking classes and start their internships, they'll find many interests in the field of teaching."

The School of Education hopes to expand the conference by inviting students from around Illinois to attend. Future conferences will highlight new topics in education each year.

Dr. Love added, "So many more students can benefit from what we do in the School of Education, so we hope to make this a statewide conference. I think that if we can provide fun, informative programs, then more students will become interested in a career in education."

"It's great that we are able to reach out to high school students and talk with them about the different aspects of education," said Steele.

Adult students interested in earning a bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership will soon be able to complete degree requirements through Millikin University's PACE program on the Parkland College campus in Champaign, Ill. A PACE Information Session for Organizational Leadership will be held Thursday, July 17, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. in room T106-107 in the Applied Technology Building at Parkland College. Representatives from Millikin's PACE program, including advisors, will be available.

Millikin's Professional Adult Comprehensive Education (PACE) program is an accelerated evening program for working adults that allows them to take one course at a time, one night a week for a five-week period, and then move on to the next course. Students earn 12 credit hours over each semester. Established in 2003, the PACE program has graduated hundreds of adult students, and the Organizational Leadership major is the most popular.

"Millikin's Organizational Leadership PACE program was the perfect fit for my career, both time-wise and course of study," said Patrick Hoban, PACE graduate and economic development officer for the City of Decatur. "This diverse degree is proof that leaders can be made, not born. Regardless of your industry, every company can benefit from a Millikin Organizational Leadership graduate. This degree is for anyone interested in taking their career to the next level."

Organizational Leadership offered at Parkland College is a four-semester degree completion program. Eligible students will have already completed the general education requirements at Parkland or other institutions, and will be ready to complete the final 48 credit hours through Millikin University. Millikin is now accepting applications for a cohort to begin January 2015.

Millikin's PACE program currently offers degree completion or certification in Elementary Education at Parkland.

"The Organizational Leadership degree I earned through Millikin's PACE program equipped me with skills that propelled me to a promotion with international responsibilities and travel," said PACE graduate Mark Massey of Tate & Lyle. "It empowered me with credentials to be heard and taken seriously within the global environment."

For more information or to make a reservation, please visit or call 217.420.6771 to speak with an admission counselor.

Millikin University has announced its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in January 2013, Millikin's DNP program will be launched in the 2013-2014 academic year.

The DNP program has two tracks; Track 1 (Nurse Anesthesia) is for individuals who are Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) prepared nurses and want to become nurse anesthetists [*]. Track 2 (DNP completion for MSN-prepared advanced practice nurses) is for advanced practice nurses (APNs) who want to complete the practice doctorate as their highest earned academic degree.

"This is a wonderful and historic achievement for Millikin University, due in large part to the incredible efforts of our School of Nursing faculty," stated Millikin Vice President for Academic Affairs Barry Pearson. "This program strengthens the institution's mission to be the leader in performance learning."

The Millikin School of Nursing DNP program is focused on preparing expert advanced practice nurses who will help transform healthcare throughout the nation. The program will prepare individuals dedicated to advancing nursing values in a diverse world and committed to the development and dissemination of evidence to guide nursing practice.

"Approval to offer the DNP at Millikin again demonstrates the excellence of our nursing programs and faculty," stated Director of the Millikin School of Nursing, Dr. Deborah Slayton. "It also amplifies Millikin's leadership in performance learning. We have created a DNP curriculum and delivery mechanisms that take into account the diversity of the students' personal and professional lives."

Millikin University is one of five universities in Illinois to offer a Nurse Anesthesia program. The launch of the DNP program in advance of the nationwide DNP entry into practice mandate for nurse anesthetists benefits Millikin DNP graduates in the marketplace.

The first DNP students will start January 2014. Graduates of the DNP program will engage as expert practitioners in a specialized area of advanced practice nursing to develop safe, quality patient outcomes, and provide leadership within complex healthcare systems.

Applications for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program for Track 1 (Nurse Anesthesia) will be due July 1, 2013. Track 2 applications are reviewed on an on-going basis. Further information about the DNP program and application forms are available online at or by calling the Millikin University School of Nursing at 217.424.5034.

[*] Pending approval by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) to move the current nurse anesthesia program from an MSN to a DNP-degree granting program.
Millikin University Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dr. Elizabeth Gephart, has been awarded a 2013 State of Illinois Nurse Educator Fellowship from the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Dr. Gephart becomes the third faculty member from Millikin's School of Nursing (SON) to be awarded a Nurse Educator Fellowship joining Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dr. Pamela Lindsey and Instructor of Nursing, Debra Jenkins.

The purpose of the Nurse Educator Fellowship Program is to ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing faculty at institutions of higher learning that award degrees in nursing. The program is designed to reward outstanding nursing faculty and provide an incentive to retain qualified faculty at Illinois institutions of higher learning.

"The fellowship is designed to encourage more faculty to pursue additional scholarship opportunities," remarked Gephart. "One of the key parts of this fellowship is placing an emphasis on making academia possible as a long-term investment for nursing professionals. The fellowship award will allow me to pursue additional education opportunities in the field of informatics that will support the graduate education program. My particular interest is in developmental disabilities, and this opportunity will also allow me to explore more in terms of how we can provide effective nursing care for children with developmental disabilities."

An Advanced Practice Nurse, Dr. Gephart has been a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner for 14 years. She came to Millikin University as a full-time faculty member in 2006. In May 2011, Dr. Gephart completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from St. Louis University, earning the School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice Program 2011 Nursing Leadership Award.

"It’s an honor to receive this fellowship and it’s an honor for Millikin," remarked Gephart. "I think it really speaks highly to the School of Nursing program. We have a very dynamic baccalaureate program, but we also have multiple tracks in our Master's program including Nurse Educator, Clinical Nurse Leader, Master's Entry into Nursing Practice, and Nurse Anesthesia. My growth as a nurse educator is a reflection of the excellence of the School of Nursing faculty, and their willingness to support and mentor those who are new to academia."

"Dr. Elizabeth Gephart committed herself to attaining her DNP while remaining employed full-time at Millikin University," remarked Director of the School of Nursing, Deborah Slayton. "Dr. Gephart takes her commitment to professional nursing education very seriously and she dedicated herself to doctoral education. She is the quintessential example of excellence in the Nurse Educator faculty role and richly deserves this honor."

For further information on the Millikin University School of Nursing, visit
Millikin University is pleased to announce that the School of Education has received full national accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

“I am pleased that Millikin University has been accredited by NCATE,” remarked Millikin president Douglas E. Zemke. “This validates the quality of our faculty, as well as the quality of the curriculum leading to student success. Millikin University’s School of Education continues to focus on the professional preparation of its students building the foundation towards inspired teachers with great passion.”

A study by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) shows that graduates of NCATE-accredited colleges of education pass ETS content examinations for teacher licensing at a higher rate than do graduates of unaccredited colleges. Teacher candidates who attend NCATE colleges boost their chances of passing the examination by nearly 10 percent.

“This recognition from NCATE speaks to the integrity of our program and rewards the hard work of the many people across campus, both within the School of Education and outside, who have been involved in the development of our education majors,” remarked Nancy Gaylen, director of the School of Education.

NCATE, founded in 1954, is the education profession’s mechanism to help establish high quality teacher preparation. The U. S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize NCATE as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation. Through the process of professional accreditation of schools, colleges and departments of education, NCATE works to make a difference in the quality of teaching and teacher preparation today, tomorrow, and for the next century. NCATE’s performance-based system of accreditation fosters competent classroom teachers and other educators who work to improve the education of all P-12 students. For more information, visit 

Millikin’s School of Education offers 10 academic programs; eight of which are nationally recognized by their individual specialized professional associations. Students enjoy opportunities to integrate course-based knowledge and skills with internships in area classrooms. The journey toward excellence in teaching and learning starts on the very first day of class. Local internships and clinical experiences combine with week- and semester-long opportunities to travel to and learn in Chicago, the Dominican Republic, China and Taiwan. These diverse, meaningful opportunities show students how to practice what they learn at Millikin in a real-world setting.

For more information on the School of Education at Millikin, visit

Millikin University and Decatur Memorial Hospital have partnered together to launch the new Millikin University-Decatur Memorial Hospital Nurse Anesthesia Program.  

Click here for a video of the press conference.

“The new Nurse Anesthesia track of our Master of Science in Nursing program opens yet another career path for BSN-prepared nurses to attain professional success,” said Douglas E. Zemke, president of Millikin University. “Millikin University prepares nursing leaders who integrate knowledge, skills, and values in their professional practice within a global community. Our partnership with Decatur Memorial Hospital is consistent with our endeavor to create a community of life-long learners who are able to actively shape the future of nursing and health care while adding to the quality of life for our community. We are pleased to be a partner with Decatur Memorial Hospital in this endeavor.”

“Decatur Memorial Hospital has provided supervised clinical experiences since 1965, to help educate and prepare nurse anesthetists,” said Ken Smithmier, president and CEO of Decatur Memorial Hospital.  “We are excited to partner with Millikin University to provide students with the opportunity to learn anesthesia techniques, test theory, and apply knowledge to clinical problems.” 

The program consists of an intensive, fast-paced curriculum delivered in the classroom and through clinical practice experiences. More than 2,400 hours of clinical practicum are provided through the 31-month, full-time program. Students are required to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, Professional Registered Nurse licensure in the State of Illinois, and a minimum of one year of adult critical care nursing experience. 

Successful students are conferred a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree upon graduation, are prepared to take the national certification examination to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), and are eligible for licensure as Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs).

“The CRNA’s role in the operating room is to monitor the patient’s vital signs, regulate the anesthetic as necessary, analyze situations, make decisions, communicate clearly with the other members of the surgical team and respond quickly and appropriately to ensure maximum safety and comfort,” said Dr. Rhonda Gee, director of the Decatur Memorial Hospital Nurse Anesthesia Program.  “Currently, there are 40 CRNAs employed at Decatur Memorial Hospital providing cost-effective, high quality patient care.”

The Millikin University-Decatur Memorial Hospital Nurse Anesthesia Program is the only nurse anesthesia education program based in Central Illinois.  It will become the fourth track within Millikin’s MSN program.  The other three tracks are Nurse Educator (NE), Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), and Master’s Entry into Nursing Practice: Pre-licensure (MENP: PL).

“Over the past twenty months, the School of Nursing faculty has worked collaboratively with our nursing colleagues in the Decatur Memorial Hospital Nurse Anesthesia Program to envision and develop this partnership.” remarked Dr. Deborah Slayton, director of Millikin’s School of Nursing. “Judging by the level and quality of our ongoing professional engagement and the congruence of our philosophies about nursing and nursing education, we are confident this joint endeavor will be extremely successful.”

The first class is targeted to begin in June 2011. Information is available online at or by calling 217.424.5034. 

Millikin University’s nursing undergraduate and graduate programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.  Nursing students combine classroom education with clinical and practice experiences under the supervision of nursing faculty at more than 34 affiliate agencies.  In recent years, 100 percent of Millikin nursing graduates have found employment or attended graduate school within six months of graduation. For more information on Millikin University’s School of Nursing, visit 

Social media press release available here.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL