Interview with Marcia Kube, Ed.D., RN, CNE - Dean of Graduate Nursing and Health Professions at Bryan College of Health Sciences

About Marcia Kube, Ed.D., RN, CNE: Marcia Kube is the Dean of Graduate Nursing and Health Professions at Bryan College of Health Sciences. As Dean, she oversees all aspects of the MSN and Ed.D. programs at Bryan College, and works closely with the faculty on curricular and assessment activities for the programs. Dr. Kube has been with Bryan College of Health Sciences for 38 years, and currently teaches the Education Practice Seminar and chairs numerous dissertations in the doctoral program.

She holds a BSN from Mount Marty University in Yankton, SD; an MA in Adult Education from University of Nebraska-Lincoln; an MSN in Adult Nursing from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI, and an Ed.D. in Health Professions Education from College of St. Mary in Omaha.

Interview Questions

[] May we have an overview of Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education, including its key learning outcomes and how it prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills to become educational leaders in academic and clinical contexts?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] The program delves into nursing education from many perspectives. Through understanding issues and principles, students gain insight into processes and decisions that help them form innovative solutions. A lot of these issues are contemporary challenges that students are facing in their work. We look at items like faculty autonomy and academic freedom, disparities in healthcare education, legal and ethical issues in medical education, and the needs of the populations that health educators serve. We look at these issues from the perspective of faculty and how the best decisions can be made to benefit both faculty and students.

We want to give students different insights into how decisions are made in healthcare education and how to proceed when looking at the small and large issues as they move forward in their careers. Most of our students are currently faculty or aspire to faculty positions while other students are in chair or director positions of programs. In both instances, the intricate examination of educational principles and processes produces highly effective practitioners.

In fall 2021 we will admit health professions students to the program and the title will be changed to Education Doctorate with an emphasis in Nursing and Health Professions Education. There are significant commonalities within nursing and health professions education, and we realized that our program’s curriculum translates well to health educators across different roles and contexts. Nurses are very aware that if we make the wrong decision, people can die. And if an educator teaches somebody the wrong thing, then that becomes a geometrically larger problem. When we look at sonographers, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, the same principle applies–if somebody does your exam wrong and you get the wrong diagnosis, harm could happen, whether that is delayed treatment or the wrong treatment. So healthcare educators regardless of the professionals they are educating are tackling the same issues and the same responsibilities. We look forward to how this addition will strengthen our interprofessionalism thread in the curriculum.

Our students will take the same courses and will look at the issues from their profession’s perspective, which I think will be fascinating. For example, when we look at accreditation in our classes, the nurses will look at nursing accreditation, the respiratory therapists will look at their accreditation, the dietitians will look at theirs, and the physician assistants will look at theirs, and between these and other health care professionals we will be able to see the larger picture in terms of similarities, differences, strengths and opportunities for improvement. I think that this helps all of the health care and health care education professions to become stronger, having that interdisciplinary knowledge.

[] You mention above how patient safety is of primary importance in the medical field and in health care education, and how errors in health care education can lead to geometrically larger problems in health care and patient outcomes. How does one prevent this problem and ensure quality and consistency of nursing and other health care professional training and education?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] One of the most important elements for quality and consistency of health care is ethics. If you look at our program outcomes, ethics is one of our five core program priorities. It is also one of the core values of nursing. This is not a term that we formally use in the program, but nurses feel like we have a sacred responsibility to teach nursing students correctly so that they have the knowledge and skills to keep the public safe. When health professions have specialty accreditation, there is always a safety component to it, and that is one of the factors that we are constantly looking at and making sure we are doing justice to in our curriculum and the classroom through discussions.

[] Could you please elaborate on the online learning technologies that Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education uses to deliver course materials and facilitate interactions between students and faculty?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] Our College uses Canvas to deliver the course material. Each course has synchronous video meetings using Zoom. The meetings provide real-time opportunities to explore concepts with faculty and peers. We value the synergy and relationships that form during real time interaction. Our faculty stay in close communication with students. In addition to the synchronous video conference class sessions, the faculty meet with students 1:1 via phone, email, and Zoom.

[] Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education requires the completion of a Dissertation. May we have more information on the Dissertation, including its structure and purpose, the process students undergo to complete it, and the types of faculty support they receive during their work?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] Our dissertation is a research study that is relevant to healthcare education. Our process involves two semesters of preparation work and three semesters spent conducting the study. The first preparation course is Dissertation Literature Review in which students select a topic, analyze available research about it, and narrow the topic by identifying gaps for further study. Research Proposal is the second preparation course in which students design their study. The 12 credit dissertation is divided into three courses with milestones for completion in each semester. A grade is awarded when the requirements of each course have been met. This facilitates completion by acknowledging accomplishment of requirements as the student progresses rather than waiting until the end for a single grade.

As we are an Ed.D. program, all of our dissertations in some way relate to health care education, but from there, students can really customize it to their own interests. We had a fascinating dissertation on faculty as survivors of student suicide. We’ve had dissertations on recruitment of nursing faculty early on in their careers, as well as dissertations on maintaining mid-career nursing faculty. We have had students research the factors that cause people to leave nursing and the nursing profession mid-career. One of our students is currently completing a dissertation on the lived experiences of transgender students in nursing programs, while another has researched the lived experience of student veterans transitioning into nursing programs.

There have been several dissertations on civility within nursing–one completed by a CRNA about civility in nurse anesthesia comes to mind. These are just a few examples to give you a sense of the range of topics that students explore. Both our students and our faculty are very invested in looking at issues that are contemporary, and useful for improving health care education practice. It goes back to the mission of our college, and our focus on clinical and academic excellence.

Students work closely with the chair of their dissertation committee throughout the process. The Doctoral Seminar courses that run concurrently with the Dissertation provide peer support from their cohort and guidance from faculty. Students assemble their committee in the Dissertation Literature Review course, and at the end of that course students present their dissertation literature review to their committee. Their task is to explain to their committee what they have been examining in preparation for their own research study. They also present their research proposal to their committee, after which they will meet with their committee chair every other week or so to ensure that their research is staying on track on through their completion of their research and final dissertation defense.

[] Does Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education require students to pass a comprehensive examination prior to embarking on their Dissertation?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] Our program does not require a traditional comprehensive exam. We do not see value in taking exams on rigorous courses that have been completed successfully. During the first Doctoral Seminar, students conduct an analysis of what has been gleaned from their coursework that will facilitate success in conducting the dissertation.

[] What role does faculty mentorship play in Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education? How can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems while they are enrolled?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] Upon admission to the program, each student is assigned an academic advisor who is a full-time faculty member. This student-advisor relationship continues through graduation. The advisor helps the student navigate the program, professional scholarship, and career opportunities.

[] For students interested in Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education, what advice do you have in terms of submitting a competitive application?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] A strong application to the program is complete, detailed, and timely. The personal statement is an important document in the application because it is evaluated for both compatibility with our program outcomes and for academic writing. Applicants should give due diligence to both the content and construction regarding logic, flow, grammar, and proofreading. In their personal statement, students should describe what their goals are for their career, whether that is going into administration, staying in the classroom, or researching health care practice and how it can be improved. Students should be specific about what their interests and objectives are, and clearly elaborate on how they see their goals as being compatible with our program outcomes.

Explicitly linking their background and professional values to our own values as a program and institution of health care learning is very important. That is what I mean when I say I expect the application to be complete and detailed. By timely, I mean that it is crucial for applicants to meet our deadlines. In general, people want to be at their very best in their application. And if someone is not timely, not detailed, or submits an incomplete application, that definitely impacts their candidacy.

Strong letters of recommendation would address concepts noted in our purpose statement and program outcomes. Students must have a master’s degree to enter the program. Nurses must have an MSN, and we will have similar education expectations for applicants who are in other health care professions, such as physician assistants, respiratory therapists, dietitians, etc.

Graduate level education coursework is required to enter the doctoral level courses so that all students will be on equitable ground to advance the educational principles in their program. If applicants do not have previous graduate level coursework in education, they will be admitted and take the education coursework prior to entering the doctoral level courses.

[] What makes Bryan College’s Online Ed.D. in Nursing Education unique and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students? How does this program prepare students particularly well for careers in nursing higher education and education administration, academic research, and nursing education systems improvement?

[Dr. Marcia Kube] Education of nursing and other healthcare educators is unique due to the nature of their professional practice. Our program combines sound educational principles with the realities of practice. This unique blend prepares graduates to be highly effective in their roles as educators.

Our college is small and focused on health sciences. That focus makes us keenly aware of the needs and issues of faculty teaching in these areas. Our size also allows the faculty to get to know their students and provide personalized attention. Our alumni are highly satisfied with their education and faculty: 100% indicate that they would recommend the program to others.

Thank you, Dr. Marcia Kube, for your excellent insight into Bryan College of Health Sciences’ online Ed.D. in Nursing Education!