Kent State Professor Receives Grant to Address Nursing Shortage

Dr. Susan Taft, associate professor and director of graduate management programs in Kent State University’s College of Nursing, has been awarded a two-year, $410,000 grant from the Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN) program, led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Northwest Health Foundations (NWHF). Funding is provided by four foundations, adding the Cleveland Foundation, which matches the $200,000 award from RWJF and NWHF, and the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation. PIN is a national initiative to find innovative ways to create an appropriately-sized nursing workforce. The grant is one of nine selected from an original pool of 43 proposals.

Taft’s project is designed to address Northeast Ohio’s nursing shortage by expanding the number of nurse educators, the primary bottleneck limiting nursing school admissions. In addition to Kent State’s College of Nursing, three Northeast Ohio partner schools join the initiative: the University of Akron’s College of Nursing, Cleveland State University’s Department of Nursing, and Ursuline College’s Breen School of Nursing. The program aims to build teaching capacity by expanding the numbers of nursing faculty in Northeast Ohio.

Through funding provided in 2009 by the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, Taft piloted an innovative solution to the bottleneck that has occurred as a result of limited numbers of full-time nursing faculty: developing a new and untapped pool of nurses as part-time online educators. Participants are identified as “non-traditional nurse educators” or NTNEs: masters-prepared nurses working outside of academe who would welcome the opportunity to teach part-time. They include nurses working in clinical roles, engaged in family responsibilities, retired or approaching retirement, and/or physically disabled. They will be prepared through a graduate course, Methods of Online Education, developed by Taft with assistance from Kent State University at Salem faculty members Janeen Kotsch and Karen Zapko. The course aims to produce online teaching competence in a short time, inexpensively, and for focused teaching-only roles. Graduates successfully completing the course will be available to supplement regular nursing faculty in non-clinical courses in colleges of nursing, thereby increasing the number of nursing faculty and directly impacting the number of qualified nursing students who could be admitted and educated at colleges of nursing.

Ultimately, the project aims to work with a growing number of partner schools of nursing, starting first in Northeast Ohio and expanding to state and national partnerships. The Online Nursing Education for Non-traditional Faculty program is designed in six distinct phases, with Phases 1 and 2 already completed, and Phases 3 and 4 supported by the PIN grant.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Nursing, visit

About Partners In Nursing’s Future (PIN)
PIN has provided support to local foundations for five years, discovering models that work and can be replicated nationally. The program provides assistance to local and regional philanthropies to develop strategies in their communities for creating and sustaining a viable nursing workforce. PIN has invested $12 million in these efforts nationwide. During the program’s first four years, 88 foundation partners in 32 states established more than 300 local partnerships among nursing organizations, private and public funders, and workforce development boards to address the nursing and nurse faculty shortage. Nearly 100 private philanthropic organizations in 37 states are now involved. This is the final year of the PIN program. For more information about PIN, visit

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Media Contacts:
Kathy Donchess,, 330-672-8747
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 04:33 PM
UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 08:34 AM
College of Nursing