Valparaiso University’s Theresa Kessler, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, CNE, Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science and professor of nursing, has been named a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing for her significant contributions to health and health care.Theresa Kessler portrait

“Working to advance nursing science by collaborating with other researchers, engaging undergraduate nursing students in research and expanding credentialing science is a privilege, and I am grateful for these opportunities,” Kessler said. “I am honored to be inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.”

Kessler joined the Valpo faculty in 1994. During her tenure, her personal scholarship, accomplishments and professional development have been directed toward enhanced learning experiences for nursing students. Her work focuses on adult health, leadership and advanced practice. Whether teaching in the College of Nursing and Health Professionsbachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral nursing programs, she emphasizes the importance of research and creates opportunities for students to be engaged in research projects.

“The American Academy of Nursing is one of the highest, and most respected organizations in the field,” said Karen Allen, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions and longtime Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. “Kessler’s induction in the academy is an outstanding accomplishment that speaks to the many years of personal dedication, collaboration, education, scholarship, practice and policy-making she has given to the profession. She is a world-renowned expert in many areas of nursing. And yet, she is also a devoted teacher and mentor to her students and her colleagues.”

Kessler has advanced credentialing science through her leadership at the American Nurses Credentialing Center. For more than 15 years, she served ANCC in a variety of roles, including two terms as chair of the commission on certification. Kessler directed the transformation of renewal requirements for certified nurses, led the fundamental shift in using outcome-based credit rather than time-based credit for demonstrating continuing competence, expanded options for certified nurses to meet renewal requirements and advanced credentialing policy nationally and internationally.

She received the Valparaiso University Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work in 2017. In 2015, Kessler was inducted as the Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science and in 2014 was the recipient of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Kessler has a doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree from Indiana University, and a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

She will be recognized this fall at the academy’s annual Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference, which will take place virtually Oct. 29–31. The academy is composed of more than 2,700 nursing leaders who are experts in policy, research, administration, practice and academia that champion health and wellness, locally and globally. Kessler joins a group of 230 new fellows representing 39 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territory of Guam and 13 countries.

The American Academy of Nursing serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy, practice and science through organizational excellence and effective nursing leadership. The academy and its members, known as fellows, create and execute knowledge-driven and policy-related initiatives to drive reform of America’s health system.