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North Park Welcomes New Deans

A New Role for Professor Duncan

As a veteran professor at North Park University, Dr. Linda Duncan has taught thousands of nursing students, and faculty and staff have come to know her well. But this fall Duncan will assume the new role of dean of the School of Nursing.

She looks forward to continued innovation as the undergraduate curriculum introduces the full deployment of the new nursing simulation lab. In addition, Duncan plans to build on burgeoning cooperative initiatives in the University’s immediate neighborhoods and more broadly across Chicago. Such initiatives include nursing-student-run health workshops at nearby elementary schools and partnerships with like-minded organizations like the Lawndale Community Health Center.

It is important that we are “acting out of our mission as a Christian nursing program, not just claiming the mission,” Duncan says.

She also assumes the challenge of serving a diverse student population in the graduate and continuing education nursing programs, training these students in ways that will equip them to work eeffectively in their own communities. Duncan imagines a time in the near future when North Park offers a doctoral program in nursing.

“The future is bright,” Duncan says. “I think our biggest goal is to continue preparing nursing practitioners who will serve their communities well and reflect the compassion of Christ.”

Seizing The Moment

Dr. Bryan Watkins is a familiar face in adult education. For more than 20 years he has worked with adult educators and learners in a variety of settings. He comes to North Park as the new dean of the School of Adult Learning from Dominican University, where he served as an acting assistant provost and was on the founding team of Dominican’s School of Continuing Studies.

Watkins is excited to step into his new role as North Park celebrates 20 years of the School of Adult Learning. He sees this not only as an exciting moment for the University, but also as an exciting time in our country. Pointing to widespread interest in professional training and education for American adults, he believes that North Park’s tradition in this area, along with our urban location and commitment to service, positions the University to be a national leader in this segment of higher education.

“I’m honored to be the next person to move things forward and build on this great tradition at North Park,” Watkins says.

A New Voice in the School of Music

Dr. Craig Johnson joins North Park University as Dean of the School of Music and professor of music. For three decades, Johnson taught music at Otterbein University, spending 11 years as department chair and 20 as choral director.

Johnson’s primary goal will be to “get to know the program inside and out before growing in new directions and building on the tradition.” He recognizes the University’s commitment to the significance of the School of Music and looks forward to the ways he can help maintain—and extend—its prestige.

Along with leadership responsibilities, Johnson will be teaching aural skills courses for the school. “Teaching is very important to me,” he says, “and it’s one very important avenue to get to know the students and the program.”

Johnson is not unfamiliar with North Park. He is the son of two alumni from the era of North Park Academy, and he grew up in Covenant churches, so his new appointment completes the loop back to North Park and the Covenant. “Life in the Christian world and urban setting is very appealing to my wife and me,” Johnson says. “I’m very excited about the move and possibilities at North Park.”

Next Steps

Explore opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education at North Park.

Return to the Summer 2011 North Parker online.

Dr. Linda Duncan; Dr. Bryan Watkins; Dr. Craig Johnson