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Cynthia Russell

School of Professional Studies

Nursing and Health Sciences

Ph.D. (Psychiatric Nursing), 1991, Rush University, Chicago
M.S. (Psychiatric Nursing), 1982, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S., 1979, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Russell became Olivet’s associate dean of nursing and health sciences, a newly created position, in 2013. In this role, she provides leadership for Olivet’s health care programs, overseeing curriculum, didactic and clinical instruction, faculty recruitment, and student satisfaction and retention for health science initiatives and the nursing program.

She came to Olivet from her position as chief academic officer and senior vice president of academic programs for Orbis Education in Indianapolis, Ind. Prior to that, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs/chief academic officer at Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Phoenix, Ariz.; dean of the Samaritan College of Nursing at GCU; professor and acting dean of the College of Nursing at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.; and other positions in which she offered leadership and promoted academic excellence.

As a nurse, her experience has included working as a certified clinical nurse specialist, consultant and program developer, leader of education support groups, and a staff nurse in both psychiatry and pediatrics in a variety of health care settings. She is certified in interactive imagery and has expertise in guided imagery.

Dr. Russell’s primary research focus has focused on the caregivers of person’s with dementia. Her published works include: Congregational Health: How to make your congregation a health-aware community (co-author) from Hilton Publishing and “Health care & spirituality: Professional perspectives, a nurse speaks” in Health care & spirituality: Listening, assessing & caring from Baywood Publishing. She also has numerous journal publications.

Besides being an author, she has also presented at many professional conferences and meetings, including the Professional Nurse Educators Group (PNEG) conference in Kansas City, the African American Health Fair in Washington, D.C., and the Mayo Continuing Nursing Education Conference in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Russell delights in life on the hobby farm where she and her husband, Douglas Lemster, maintain a flock of registered St. Croix sheep. Together, they raise and train their Belgian Malinois, a breed of dog in the herding group. They show their dogs in American Kennel Club (AKC) Conformation and a wide variety of dog sports, including herding, agility, obedience and tracking. In 2013, the female that they bred, GCh. How Sweet It Is De Burr Oak, PT –“Nia,” took Best of Breed at Westminster.

A member at Christ Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Ind., she has taught Sunday school classes and served on various committees.

She and her husband have five adult children — three of whom are married — and two grandchildren.

1 Corinthians


"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.