Jan 21, 2019  
2014-2015 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

College of Nursing

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Graduate Faculty and Fields of Interest

Armstrong, Debbie Lecturer, Adult and Child Health Nursing (2012), PhD University of Massachusetts Worcester (2012). Specializations:  Spinal cord injury, pathophysiology.

Asselin, Marilyn Assistant Professor of Adult and Child Nursing, (2007). ASN Community College of RI, 1974, BS in Nursing Salve Regina College, 1981, MS Nursing Education from University of Rhode Island, 1987, PhD in Nursing, University of Rhode Island, 1998. Specializations: Reflective practice, qualitative methods, reflective teaching, teaching methods.

Benson, Janet Lecturer, Family Nurse Practitioner (1996), BS Southeastern Massachusetts University, MSN Boston College. Specialization: Family nurse practitioner.

Blier, Diane Lecturer, Adult and Child Nursing (2009), MSN/ANP, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2005), BSN, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2003), AS RN Program, Bristol Community College (1995), LPN, Southeastern Regional Technical Institute (1982). Specialization: Adult health, palliative care, nursing education.

Chin, Elizabeth Lecturer, Adult and Child Health Nursing, PhD, MS, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2004), BS Special Education, Bridgewater State College (1998), AS Nursing, Laboure College (1979) Specialization: Chronic Illness.

Elliott, Kathleen Lecturer, Adult and Child Health Nursing, Post-Master’s ANP, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2001), MS Nursing; Critical Care Clinical Specialist, University of Massachusetts Boston (1995), BS Nursing, Saint Joseph’s College (1990). Specializations: Adult health, nursing education.

Fain, James (Dean, College of Nursing) Professor of Nursing (2005), BSN 1976 University of Rhode Island, MS 1979 University of Alabama in Birmingham, PhD 1985 University of Connecticut. Specializations: Diabetes care and education, psychometric evaluation of research instruments.

Fater, Kerry H
  (MS Graduate Program Director) Associate Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (1992), BSN 1972 Villanova University, MS 1979 University of Rhode Island, PhD 1985 University of Connecticut. Specializations: Adult health, phenomenology, nursing education.

Gramling, Kathryn Associate Professor of Adult and Child Health Nursing (2000), BSN 1966 Boston College, MSN 1985 University of Connecticut, PhD 1999 University of Colorado. Specializations: Adult health, caring models, aesthetics.

Griffin, Ruth (Chairperson of Community Nursing)  Assistant Professor of Community Nursing (2011). BSN Salem State College 1974, MSN St Louis University 1990, DNSc in Nursing Columbia University, 2005.  Specializations: Mental health, children’s pain, schizophrenia, postpartum depression, chronic mental illness, nursing education. 

Hunter-Revell, Susan M Assistant Professor in Adult and Child Health Nursing (1998), BS 1992 Fitchburg State College, MS 1997 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, PhD, University of Rhode Island, 2007. Specializations: Adult health, theory, spinal cord injury, technology in the classroom.

McCurry, Mary (DNP Graduate Program Director) Associate Professor in Adult and Child Health Nursing (2000), BS 1986 University of Massachusetts Amherst, MS 1996 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, PhD Boston College (2006) . Specialization: Adult Nurse Practitioner, theory and philosophy, decision-making, informal caregivers, technology in the classroom.

Sethares, Kristen (PhD Graduate  Program Director) Associate  Professor of Adult and Child Nursing (2001), BSN 1987 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, MSN 1993 University of Massachusetts Boston, PhD, CNE 2003 Boston College School of Nursing. Specialization: Adult health, chronic cardiac illness, self-care of illness.

Sousa, Sharon (Associate Dean, College of Nursing) Associate Professor of Community Nursing (1999), BA 1974 Johnson State College, MA 1975 University of Vermont, PhD 1983 Boston University, MS 1997 Northeastern University. Specializations: Mental health issues, genetics.

Stover, Caitlyn, Assistant Professor of Community Nursing (2012), BSN Boston College 1997, MS in Community /Public health nursing  Worcester State University 2008, PhD in Nursing University of Massachusetts-Worcester 2011.  Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PHCNS-BC). Specializations: LGBTQ health, health disparities, community based participatory research, online synchronous focus groups. 

Weatherford, Barbara (Chairperson of Adult and Child Nursing Department) Assistant Professor of Adult and Child Nursing (2011), BSN Syracuse University, MS University of Maryland, PhD 2011 University of Massachusetts Worcester. Areas of specialization: Organizational culture, patient safety, quality and leadership.


The College of Nursing at UMass Dartmouth offers several graduate programs:  the Master of Science  (MS) degree in Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and the Doctor of  Philosophy degree in Nursing (PhD).   As of Fall 2011, students interested in advance practice roles may only enroll in the DNP program.   The MS degree in Advanced Practice Nursing will be inactivated when current students complete their course of study The curricula in all programs consists of didactic and experiential learning. The courses are designed to be delivered  on-site or as blended online learning. They are no entirely online programs, nor is there any plan to move in that direction.

The College of Nursing is fully accredited by the National League for Nursing. This accreditation applies to all programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. The review process occurs on a regular, cyclic basis.

The College of Nursing at UMass Dartmouth offers a graduate program leading to the degree of the Master of Science in Nursing. The program offers small classes, close contact with a diverse faculty, and easy access. Successful completion of a minimum of 42 or 43 credits (depending on option) are necessary to achieve the Master’s degree. Six of these credits may be taken at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth prior to matriculation. A total of six credits may be transferred from other graduate programs following appropriate review.

Graduates of the program are prepared to assume roles in advanced practice. Courses are scheduled to permit either full-time or part-time study.

The Master of Science in Nursing Program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth prepares graduates for a nursing leadership role in one of the following areas: (a) adult nurse practitioner, (b) advanced practice in adult health, or (c) advanced practice in community health.

The objectives of the nursing program are to:

  • Model nursing care practice that demonstrates respect for human dignity, ethical responsibility, and interpersonal connectedness.
  • Master communication strategies to address complex health issues in a variety of forums and formats.
  • Evaluate the aggregate outcomes of nursing care using accepted professional standards and evidence-based benchmarks to effect quality of care within or across systems.
  • Implement evidence based nursing strategies that have been developed, tailored and evaluated with clients to maximize health.
  • Synthesize specialized and diverse knowledge in advance nursing practice.
  • Assumes a leadership role in advancing, fostering and maintaining nursing values and standards.
  • Influence nursing practice and health policy to shape care delivery to diverse and vulnerable populations
  • Assume a leadership role in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members, and community partners to promote health, guide clients through the illness experience and to improve the health care system.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit the required application materials for the Graduate School. Additional or specific requirements include:

  • An official transcript reflecting either a Bachelor of Science of Nursing (B.S.N.) degree from an NLN-accredited program or a Baccalaureate degree in a related program (see Graduate Admission Program for RNs with a Non-nursing Baccalaureate Degree). Official transcripts of any other undergraduate or graduate work must also be submitted.
  • A 3.0 or higher cumulative average in undergraduate studies.
  • The minimum of three letters of recommendation should include 1) references from the dean, chairperson, or faculty member of the student’s undergraduate program if recently graduated and 2) a reference from the current or a recent employer. Letters of recommendation should be solicited from individuals capable of evaluating the applicant’s potential for academic success, commitment to nursing, or quality of practice.
  • The letter of intent. The admission process in the College of Nursing attaches weight to this letter. Candidates should give considerable thought to the aspects of (a) professional development and areas of expertise; (b) professional goals; and (c) appropriate “fit” between applicant’s goals, background, and the selected program option.
  • A professional resume.
  • A pre-admission interview with members of the Graduate Committee of the College of Nursing may be requested.
  • Evidence of a current license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the United States.
  • Introductory Statistics course — including descriptiveand inferential statistics.
  • At least one year of experience as a registered nurse — type of experience is considered especially for acceptance into Adult Nurse Practitioner.
  • Applications for admission for the Fall semester must be complete by April 20. Completed applications for the January term must be on file by November 15.

Graduate Admission Program for RNs with a Non-Nursing Baccalaureate Degree

RNs who hold a BA or BS in a related, non-nursing field will be considered for admission to the MS Program in Nursing. Related fields include psychology, sociology, anthropology, biological areas, and health services. Other fields of study will be evaluated on an individual basis.

All other admission requirements to the program must be met. Students completing the program are awarded a Master of Science degree in Nursing. No Nursing BS degree is awarded. During this program, students complete a portfolio to demonstrate expected undergraduate nursing outcomes. They also take an additional six graduate credits in nursing, including NUR 503 Transition to Advanced Practice Nursing.

Financial Assistance

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid, such as loans or work study. Eligibility is dependent upon income. Applications are available from the Office of Financial Aid on the first floor of the Foster Administration building. Please refer to the chapter on “Expenses and Financial Assistance.”

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available. Teaching assistants work with department faculty for 10- 20 hours a week and are compensated with a stipend and tuition/partial fee remission. Teaching assistants might assist in direct supervision of foundational clinical experiences or support faculty teaching responsibilities. Part-time teaching assistantships are available depending on the needs of the department (10 hours per week).

Research assistantships become available as faculty are awarded scientific or program grants. Announcements of the requirements will be posted on the web site, or faculty will directly contact students who have demonstrated interest and skills in the research area. You may wish to make your field of interest known to faculty.

A limited number of scholarships are available to nursing graduate students. Additional funds are traditionally available through memberships in the following organizations. While small in amount, these awards tend to be readily available and require minimal application data. Explore all options that might apply.

District State Nurses Association–MNA, District III, etc.

Sigma Theta Tau Chapter–Theta Kappa or your original chapter

Specialty Nursing Organizations–Oncology; Critical care; Emergency room

Alumni Organizations–Particularly diploma schools

Organizational Affiliations–Hospitals; parent corporations; local communities

Specialty Categories–Black Nurses Association

For students preparing for the faculty role (Nurse Educator option), funding may be available on an annual basis if the Nurse Faculty Loan Program award was received in the College.  This is a loan-forgiveness program that must be renewed annually.  MS Program Director can provide more details.


Dr Kerry Fater
MS Graduate Program Director
College of Nursing
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
508 999-8159

Dr Mary McCurry
DNP Graduate Program Director
College of Nursing
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
508 999-8159

Dr Kristen Sethares
PhD Graduate Program Director
College of Nursing
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
508 999-8159

Graduate open houses are conducted regularly. Contact us at 508-999-8159 for the date of the next scheduled event.

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