(PODCAST) Nursing Enrollment Counselor Sarah Peterson Shares Her 15-Year (and Counting) Capella Journey

July 24, 2015

Sarah Peterson, Senior Enrollment Counselor from our School of Nursing and Health Sciences, joins me on the podcast today. Sarah has worked at Capella for over 15 years in many of our programs, but has found her niche working with our nursing learners.

Sarah Peterson from the Nursing Enrollment team

Sarah Peterson from the Nursing Enrollment team

In our conversation today, Sarah and I discuss the growth and change she’s seen at Capella; she still remembers the celebration when we enrolled our 1,000th learner. Today, Capella currently has around 36,000 students. She talks about her role on the enrollment team as a “match maker” and what kind of learner is well-suited to the degree programs offered at Capella. We discuss what makes the nursing programs at Capella unique, changes in the healthcare industry and her suggestions for nurses considering going back to school. I also got to know a bit more about some of her passions: camping, books and her family… no word yet on the location of her favorite camping spot! I hope you enjoy the conversation.


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The Outstanding Nurses Awards

July 16, 2015

Today’s blog post is a guest post from Nursing Faculty Chair, Dr. Christy Davidson.

Earlier this week, I was honored to attend Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine’s fourth annual Outstanding Nurses Awards ceremony. Capella University was the presenting sponsor and it was great to share the stage with some amazing nurses. This year, there were over 80 nominees in 19 different categories and we had a wonderful evening recognizing their stellar contributions across the healthcare industry.

Pictures on the red carpet

Pictures on the red carpet

The night started out with a red carpet and photo station for the nominees and their guests (be sure to check out some of the photos!) We were fortunate to have several Capella staff at our table, including Barbara Butts Williams, Ph.D., executive dean of external relations & partnerships and dean of business, as well as Jennifer Hoff, vice president and general manager of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. We were also thrilled that two local Capella nursing learners were able to join us! There was palpable excitement from everyone in attendance and it was great to connect with the local nursing community.

Dr. Davidson gave an opening speech.

Dr. Davidson gave opening remarks.

I was honored to give short opening remarks at the program. Nursing is an extraordinary profession because it requires such a deep commitment to life-long learning as well as empathy and compassion for patients and their families. We played this iAMaNURSE clip at the end of the speech. I think it really sums up the dynamic components that make being a nurse so special.

All of the nominees had remarkable stories that highlighted their patient interactions, organizational impact and leadership. There were more nominees this year than ever before. Many were nominated multiple times and some by their patients, which was incredibly powerful. It was moving to see such talented nurses cheered on by their family and friends. In the end, 20 nurses were selected to receive an Outstanding Nurse Award. The evening’s top honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, went to Mary Jo Peck. Mary Jo is a nurse manager and program manager at Hennepin County Medical Center’s Knapp Rehabilitation Unit and she has worked at HCMC for 46 years. You can watch an inspiring video about Mary Jo here.


The evening ended with a lively on-site after party where they turned up the music and more than a few nurses took to the dance floor. It truly was a joyous event and an honor to help celebrate the outstanding contributions of nurses in our Twin Cities community.

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(Podcast) Faculty Chair Bill Dafnis; Technology-Driven Innovation

July 14, 2015

In today’s podcast, I have a great conversation with Dr. Bill Dafnis, faculty chair for the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program.

Dr. Bill Dafnis

Dr. Bill Dafnis

Bill worked for 20 years at the Chicago Tribune in various leadership positions before moving into higher education. He holds an MBA, an MSIT with an Information Security and Assurance Specialization and a  PhD in Information Systems. Bill and I talk about the parallels between the newspaper and education industries and the disruption in both those landscapes. We discuss technology as a driving factor for innovation and how it has changed the market. Bill gives his advice for learners thinking about going back to school and discusses what makes Capella’s IT programs unique.

Recently, Capella introduced an exciting addition to the BS in IT program where students have the opportunity to earn industry certifications while earning their bachelor’s degree. It’s an exciting time to be in the IT space and I hope you enjoy the conversation.


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(PODCAST) Get to Know Capella President Scott Kinney

July 8, 2015

We have a special Education Matters podcast today. I was able to sit down with Capella University President Scott Kinney. Scott and I went in a bit of a different direction with our conversation today. Scott has a really interesting background and story, and because he is a leader not only within the university, but to our learners and within the higher education realm, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know him better.


In our conversation, we cover a lot of ground. Scott talks about his upbringing in rural Minnesota, his education (did you know he has a BA in Geology?), his time living and working abroad in Australia and his transition to Capella. We also spend some time discussing what he’s learned from being president of Capella, what motivates him and his biggest piece of advice for Capella learners – reminding yourself why you’re doing this.

It was a great conversation! I hope you enjoy getting to know Scott a bit more and I hope to have him back on the podcast in a couple of months for another conversation. Thanks for your time, Scott.


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(PODCAST) Shelli’s story on serving at-risk youth in Idaho

July 6, 2015

For today’s podcast, I sat down with Shelli Roberson, Capella MS in Education Administration and Leadership student and one of our .C Scholarship winners. I’m very proud to have Shelli as part of the Capella community – she is doing very important work serving at-risk students in Idaho.

Shelli Pic

Shelli got her bachelor’s degree in both social work and education, but after working in social work for a while, decided she wanted to be an educator. She felt she could have even more impact on the lives of students if she was actually in the classroom working with them every day. Going through a rough upbringing herself, she knows how important it is to have strong role models and mentors while growing up and wanted to give back to at-risk youth in her home state of Idaho.

Please listen to my conversation with Shelli about her inspirational story, advice she has for balancing career and education with family and friends, and exactly how many animals she has on her ranch.

Transcript here.

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