A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
Dr. Melinda Granger Oberleitner is the new dean of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.
She succeeds Dr. Gail Poirrier, who stepped down as dean in December and will retire July 1. Poirrier had served in that position since 2001.
Oberleitner’s appointment is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
Oberleitner joined UL Lafayette’s faculty as an instructor in 1982. As associate dean of the College of Nursing since 2009, she provided strategic administrative and academic leadership for the Department of Nursing and the Department of Allied Health. She was head of the Department of Nursing from 2001 to 2009.
“Dr. Oberleitner’s familiarity with the college will ensure a smooth leadership transition. She has made important contributions that have enabled the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions to maintain its reputation for excellence,” said Dr. David Danahar, UL Lafayette’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
UL Lafayette nursing graduates have averaged a 95 percent first-time pass rate for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses for 34 consecutive years, for example.
Oberleitner brings a long history of achievement to her new role.
She holds the SLEMCO/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Nursing.
A pioneer and award-winning oncology nurse, she earned the Oncology Certified Nurse of the Year Award presented by the Oncology Nursing Society and the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. She also received the American Cancer Society, Louisiana Division, Public Education Lifesaver Award. The Oncology Nursing Society recruited her to co-lead several national task forces and project teams. Her extensive publications have focused on issues relevant to cancer survivors.
Oberleitner was named an American Association of Colleges of Nursing Wharton Executive Leadership Program fellow in 2015.
She led faculty teams responsible for earning the college’s Department of Nursing a designation as a Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing.
Also, she developed curricula and played key part in implementation of the doctor of nursing practice program, the online registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program, and the health services administration program.
The new dean was instrumental in development of the college’s simulation labs in areas such as adult critical care, maternal/child care, and geriatric care.
Oberleitner oversaw several successful program accreditation efforts. She coordinated initial accreditation of the DNP program and continues to provide administrative oversight for Nursing and Allied Health program reaccreditation.
Oberleitner was co-chair of the University’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee. The 2015-2020 Strategic Plan provides guidance and standards in areas such as academics, research and governance for faculty and students.
Photo caption: Dr. Melinda Granger Oberleitner is the new dean of UL Lafayette's College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)