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Nurse who frequently deploys to disasters pursues online master's so she can be even more amazing - FIU News

Nurse who frequently deploys to disasters pursues online master's so she can be even more amazing - FIU News

Nurse who frequently deploys to disasters pursues online master's so she can be even more amazing - FIU News

Posted: 19 Feb 2021 12:58 PM PST

Wendy Wheeler will not accept the title of "hero," even when a stranger tries to pin it on her.

A critical care nurse in Connecticut who accompanies sick children by ambulance to specialty facilities in the Northeast, Wheeler also serves two-week stints around the country as a member of one of the federal government's Disaster Medical Assistance Teams. Soon she will deploy for the fifth time in just over a year in support of a medical center overwhelmed by COVID-19.

A married, 50-something grandmother of two who a few years ago gave breast cancer the brush off—"This is not going to stop me from doing anything" she resolved at the time—Wheeler in August began the FIU Online master's in disaster management within the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.

In between trips transporting young patients, Wheeler takes on the hard jobs at the hospital where she's based: emergency department, trauma response and other scenarios in which the clock presents as an enemy.

A few years back, Wheeler was participating in a government-sponsored training conducted by FIU's Academy for International Disaster Preparedness at the Biscayne Bay Campus in Miami when she first heard about the graduate program.

As a member of her hospital's emergency management planning committee and the local chapter of the Emergency Nurses Association, Wheeler thought it seemed a perfect fit for her. "We're looking at broadening our scope and how we can help better and is there a way we can store details of how we respond on stuff," she says of the groups to which she belongs. "This degree works right in with that."

The big-picture view that Wheeler seeks is exactly what her studies aim to provide. With dozens of deployments to her credit—beginning with one to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina in 2004—she understands the value of a holistic approach to emergency situations. Swooping in as part of a well-oiled team that offers a quick burst of help is great, but leadership often needs to devise systems that will continue to work long term for the target community or organization. And that type of thinking has value at the facility level too, she says.

"You need to look at every different single part of the scenario and not just be tunnel visioned into what your position is responsible for," Wheeler says of what she's learning. "I see this day to day at work. The nurse's primary thing is, 'O.k., I need to get my patient from point A to point B," she explains, "but then look at all the logistics that go along with it, and what are all the resources we need."

For Wheeler, juggling work and life comes naturally, so pursuing a master's degree in the midst of a pandemic seemed doable. And FIU has helped make it possible. Not only do online courses fit Wheeler's schedule, she can rely on the faculty and staff to take her job responsibilities into consideration during this unprecedented time. "They work with me," she says. "I can't say enough about how great they have been."

One recent deployment had her worried in advance about completing assignments for classes that had yet to begin. So she called the program director to ask how she might get ahead. Instructors quickly reached out to provide information and resources.

And lest anyone worry that Wheeler crash and burn amid her current crammed-full existence, the indefatigable nurse takes is all in stride as sums up her work in the simplest of terms:

"To connect with a human is so important and just telling people that they're safe, that goes a long way. And telling them that you're there to care for them gives them the support that they need. Sometimes it's just taking that five minutes to sit and talk with somebody to make somebody feel better, to make them feel valued and feel like they're not lost in the system."

With Wheeler by one's side, lost is out of the question.

UD online graduate programs among top in nation | UDaily - UDaily

Posted: 26 Jan 2021 12:00 AM PST

Three University of Delaware online graduate programs are ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in its 2021 U.S. News Best Online Programs.

The College of Education and Human Development is ranked 23rd in the Best Online Graduate Education Programs; the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics is ranked 32nd in the Best Online MBA Programs; and the College of Engineering is ranked 46th in the Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.

"We are elated but not surprised to receive this recognition," said Louis F. Rossi, dean of UD's Graduate College and vice provost for graduate and professional education. "We have been investing the resources needed to deliver outstanding in-person graduate offerings and use them as the foundation for top-flight graduate offerings led by world-class faculty in the online arena. We know online students need new kinds of support and access, which we are happy to provide. It's all part of our mission to bring our unique strengths in graduate education to students who might not be able to come to campus or need more flexibility in the scheduling or timeline of their chosen degree."

Based on the five general categories of engagement, expert opinion, faculty credentials and training, student excellence, and student services and technologies, programs are evaluated using data reported by the institutions to U.S. News in statistical surveys and from data collected in separate peer reputation surveys.

"Our positions in the U.S. News rankings for these online graduate degrees reflect UD's strong commitment to offering our students excellent online master's degrees built on high-quality online teaching by our world-class faculty, positive career outcomes for our graduates and online courses that make learning engaging and interactive," said George Irvine, UD associate vice provost for Professional and Continuing Studies. "These factors make our online master's degrees and certificates stand out in a crowded educational marketplace."

Education and Human Development

The College of Education and Human Development offers four online master's degrees in literacy, teacher leadership, educational technology, and exceptional children and youth. The curriculum, which is designed to meet the needs of aspiring educational professionals and currently certified teachers, prepares graduates to become leaders in their fields. Courses run for five, seven and 14 weeks, depending on the program, and are created by full-time faculty renowned for both teaching and research.

"At a time when online learning is at the forefront of education efforts, we are thrilled to have this recognition," said Chrystalla Mouza, director of UD's School of Education and distinguished professor of teacher education. "Our programs are led by full-time faculty who are not only outstanding educators but they are also active scholars, bringing the latest research into their teaching. Our students work on authentic projects with immediate benefits for their own professional development, their classrooms and beyond."

Online MBA

The UD Online MBA program offers five areas of emphasis: business analytics, finance, healthcare management, strategic leadership and international business. Four departments in the Lerner College (accounting and management information systems, business administration, economics, and finance) contribute core and elective courses to the online program, which features intensive seven-week terms and access to personal career coaching.

"Moving up 15 places and placing among the top 10% of the 300-plus accredited programs reflects our continuous enhancements to the quality of our Online MBA program," said Bruce Weber, dean of UD's Lerner College. "We invest in a transformative experience and our students' ultimate success. We constantly curate the content of our offerings and update the design our courses. We are proud that our program continues to grow, now attracting a record number of students from across the nation. The fall enrollment of 480 makes it the largest graduate program at UD."


Online graduate engineering programs are offered by the University of Delaware in applied bioinformatics (certificate), railroad engineering (certificate), cybersecurity (certificate and degree), electrical and computer engineering (degree), mechanical engineering (degree), and composite manufacturing and engineering (certificate). Online students take the same courses that full-time, on-campus engineering students take, enabling synergy between research and industry.

"I am incredibly proud that our college's online graduate programs have been ranked this year," said Levi T. Thompson, dean of UD's College of Engineering. "These outstanding programs allow our students to access an extraordinary UD engineering education from home. Our online and in-person programs help engineers advance their careers and sharpen their skills so that they can make a more positive impact on people and the planet."


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