News Items from UNC Greensboro

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Portrait of Debra Barksdale, new dean of the School of Nursing
Dr. Debra J. Barksdale

UNC Greensboro is pleased to announce that Dr. Debra J. Barksdale will be the next Dean of the School of Nursing and Professor in Family and Community Nursing. She begins July 19, 2021.

Currently, Barksdale is Professor of Nursing and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. In her five years at VCU, she has grown undergraduate and master’s students enrollment and has led the development of a revised Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science concentration and a new Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Innovation.

She spent 13 years at UNC Chapel Hill leading both the Family Nurse Practitioner Program and the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (as its inaugural director). She was the first Black faculty member to achieve the rank of Full Professor in Chapel Hill’s School of Nursing.

Barksdale is a nationally recognized scholar, teacher, and practitioner. Her extensive credentials and honors include selection as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Primary Health Care Policy Leadership Program, the Wharton AACN Executive Leadership Program, and the prestigious American Academy of Nursing. In 2010, Barksdale was appointed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office under the Obama Administration to the Board of Governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She has been quoted in The New York Times and appeared live on the national news program “Al Jazeera America” regarding the salary gap between male and female nurses.

Barksdale is a first-generation college student, which has informed her lifelong commitment to student success and to equity, diversity, and inclusion. From her nursing practice history to her scholarship and service, she is a proven leader in EDI.

She holds a PhD in nursing research from the University of Michigan, an MSN from Howard University, and a BSN from the University of Virginia. In addition, she obtained a post-master’s certificate in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and is a certified family nurse practitioner and nurse educator.

Associate Dean and Professor Heidi Krowchuk has served as interim dean since the passing of former Dean Robin Remsburg in December.

UNC Greensboro’s graduate programs are among the best in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Graduate Schools rankings.

Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing, including specialties in each area. The rankings in these areas are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. U.S. News also periodically ranks programs in the sciences, social sciences and humanities, health, and other areas.

Multiple UNCG programs are recognized in the 2022 rankings. Here are some of the highlights:

To learn more and to view UNCG’s full U.S. News profile, click here. For more information about the Graduate School at UNCG, visit grs.uncg.edu.

Every year in April, Earth Day is celebrated around the world to promote and support environmental awareness and protections. As a part of this celebration, UNCG will host a Campus Nature Challenge for students and employees to participate in a citizen science project to increase biodiversity awareness by photographing, recording audio, and cataloging the plants, animals (including insects), and fungi on campus using the iNaturalist app.

From April 5 – 11, participants will be asked to use the iNaturalist app to identify as many species across campus as they can. Supported by a grant from the UNCG Green Fund, student participants will be eligible to win prizes. A bicycle, tent, hammock, and gift cards will be awarded for the most observations identified, the greatest number of species identified, and best photos. While only students are eligible to win prizes, UNCG employees are still encouraged to participate in the project.

The competition is being championed by Dr. Shaleen Miller, adjunct professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability. “Every semester, I have my students use iNaturalist for a week, and many respond that it is their favorite class activity or that they continue using it even when the semester is over,” Miller said. “At UNCG, it is fantastic that we have Peabody Park right on campus. I wanted to expand this activity and provide incentives for the rest of campus to discover the biodiversity that exists under their feet and over their heads.”

The iNaturalist app is a popular citizen science tool for cataloging biodiversity. It is available for free on both Android and Apple and has a compatible website that allows uploads by those who cannot download the app. It allows users to take photos or record audio of diverse plant and wildlife, which are uploaded into the app with the location geotagged. The application makes suggestions for identification based on the photos. Once the person submitting the picture attempts to identify the photo, the photos are shared to the iNaturalist community.

All users are asked to help make confirmations or alternative suggestions. The owner of the picture may then accept or reject the suggestions. However, after several confirmations, the photo/species is cataloged as “Research-grade.” In this way, it keeps a check on the data, but it also provides an additional way for the person who takes the photo to learn about the species they are seeing.

More information and the official rules of the competition can be found on the UNCG Sustainability website. Questions should be sent to Dr. Miller at samille6@uncg.edu.  Follow @SustainableUNCG on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for competition updates.