University of Southern Indiana

Get to know the new College of Nursing and Health Professions faculty

Get to know the new College of Nursing and Health Professions faculty

11/13/2020 | University Communications
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Get to know the newest faculty members who joined the College of Nursing and Health Professions in Fall 2020.

Paul Arthur

Dr. Paul Arthur
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy
Chair of Occupational Therapy Program

Would you share a little bit about your background?

I have been an active member of the occupational therapy community since my teenage years. I joined the Army soon after 9/11 and wanted to do something in healthcare. My recruiter offered a position as a dental assistant or occupational therapy assistant, and I went with the latter because of my large hands! I had some great undergraduate and graduate experiences in Indianapolis and went on to complete my doctorate at the University of Florida where I developed an interest in management of chronic diseases and caregiver well-being.

What is your focus/area of interest and how did you become interested in it?

My primary area of interest is in managing the challenging symptoms associated with dementia and the influence/impact of caregivers. My primary clinical area has been with adults with chronic disease and I was fortunate be a member of a research team while in Florida and spend considerable time with veterans with dementia and their caregivers (160 of them, actually). 

Describe your teaching style. 

Whenever able, I like to bring my years of clinical experiences into the classroom, tell stories and make real linkages to textbook materials. I place a high value on translation and application of knowledge. If we're learning how to manage symptoms in adults, how might it then apply to children or adolescents. What is similar and what is different?

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I have a young family that vie for my attention. I am also quite active in professional issues and advocacy.

What is a “fun fact” about you? 

I was deployed to the Middle East after one year of OT school. I returned 400 days later, on a Sunday, and was back in class with a new cohort that Monday. I often tell this story to my students, though it now seems less impressive as they are showing such resilience and are doing great things during the pandemic!

Anything else you would like the USI community to know about you? 

I am really pleased to be at USI and back in Indiana. Thankful for the warm welcome despite the unusual circumstances!


Dr. Ashley CarterDr. Ashley Carter
Assistant Professor of Nursing

Would you share a little bit about your background?

I have been a registered nurse for 21 years. I received my bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree from the University of Evansville and my master's degree in nursing education (MSN) from the University of Southern Indiana. In December 2019, I completed my doctorate of nursing practice in educational leadership (DNP) from American Sentinel University. I was an associate professor at Ivy Tech Community College – Evansville and taught full-time for 13 years. From 2015 until 2020, I served as the department chair for the Associate Degree and Practical Nursing programs.


What is your focus/area of interest and how did you become interested in it? 

I have primarily worked with new nursing students in their foundations and pharmacology courses. I enjoy working with novice students in the skills lab and clinical settings because I get to experience with them the first time they have successfully provided some aspect of patient care such as giving their first injection. I find it very rewarding to see their excitement when they are successful or when they are linking what they have learned in the classroom or skills lab and can apply it in the clinical setting.

For my DNP, I completed a research study focusing on evaluating teaching strategies to identify which type of simulation enhances the confidence levels of novice nursing students. This topic of interest stems from my commitment to student success, using best practices when teaching and my belief that confidence is a professional attribute that all novice students must develop.

Describe your teaching style. 

I tend to see myself as a “facilitator” rather than an “instructor” when in the classroom or lab setting. I believe mutual respect, open communication and an opportunity for adult learners to share their experiences helps to create an atmosphere conducive to learning.

I emphasize a “team” approach to learning and caring for patients. I include myself as a team member, not a team leader. While there are times when I may need to “lead by example” in the patient care or lab setting, I recognize the value of students learning from each other.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

My family and I enjoy being outdoors and going fishing or boating.

What is a “fun fact” about you? 

My sisters and I are triplets. During our freshman year of college, we were flown to Chicago to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. We received “triplet makeovers.” That was an exciting way to start college!


Karla Diekemper
Karla Diekemper

Instructor in Gerontology

Would you share a little bit about your background?

I am a licensed nursing home administrator. I graduated from Greenville University with my bachelor of science in organizational leadership, followed by my MBA. I graduated from Southwestern Illinois College with my associate of applied science degree (AAS) in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. I have worked in the long-term care industry for more than 32 years, just recently transitioning to the academic world.


What is your focus/area of interest and how did you become interested in it? 

My area of focus at USI is the long-term care industry, more specifically, the field of gerontology and the admin-in-training program. Having many years of experience in long-term care enables me to have first-hand experience to share with the health administration students of USI.

Describe your teaching style. 

My teaching style is a very personalized, facilitating approach. I want to get to know my students individually and facilitate collaboration amongst healthcare professionals to explore the varying viewpoints and aspects in healthcare. Teaching in a person-centered atmosphere enables me to cater my approach to each student’s needs, just as they will be catering their approach to their patients, residents and clients in a person-centered manner. 

What do you like to do in your free time? 

My spare time is spent with family, friends and my dog. Traveling has become a recent passion of mine. 

What is a “fun fact” about you? 

I grew up on a dairy farm, yet I do not drink milk. I am the sixth of seven siblings.

Anything else you would like the USI community to know about you? 

I have four children: Megan, Jacob, Molly and Jaren, and a dog named Taz.


Dr. Lisa Fournier

Dr. Lisa Fournier
Project Coordinator, Gerontology

Would you share a little bit about your background?

I have been an entrepreneur most of my career, starting my first business as an undergrad. I also worked in several high-tech, emerging growth companies as an implementer—essentially working with other stakeholders and investors to get a vision off the ground. My professional career took a turn when I became a caregiver for my parents. During this time, I earned my doctorate, wrote a book on social entrepreneurship and decided to teach entrepreneurship and innovation at the university level.

What is your focus/area of interest and how did you become interested in it?

My mom had Alzheimer’s for 14 years. Once she passed, I knew I had to take what I had learned walking this path with my mom to other caregivers. I decided to go back to school for my master's degree in dementia and aging at Texas State. I found I have a passion for dementia citizenship, or helping those with dementia have their voices heard. I volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association as an Ambassador and Community Educator. This past summer, I was looking at various opportunities and found the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) Project Coordinator position. It aligned with the direction I wanted to pursue, especially with the focus on dementia-friendly communities and the MINKA smart home!

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I love to cook for people! I also like to travel to new places and fish.

What is a “fun fact” about you? 

I play classical piano and have for more than 40 years.

Anything else you would like the USI community to know about you? 

More of an encouragement: be a difference maker!


Dr. Amy Thornton with her husband, son and daughter


Dr. Amy Thornton

Contract Assistant Professor of Nursing

Would you share a little bit about your background?

I have been a nurse for 11 years and have worked the majority of that time in the ICU. I first graduated from Kent State University in 2008 with my associate's degree in nursing (ADN). I moved to Columbus, Ohio, following graduation to start my career. In 2010 I returned for my registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing degree (RN-BSN). Following completion of that, I attended the University of Southern Indiana for my master's of science in nursing (MSN) and successfully became a board-certified adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) in 2014. I took two years off following MSN and returned to USI in 2016 for my doctorate of nursing practice (DNP). I successfully completed that in April 2018. 

I started my nursing career on a neurological step-down unit and progressed to neuro critical care. There I stayed until returning for my AGACNP. Once completing my AG-ACNP I worked in neuro critical care and then moved to neuro interventional radiology.

I am currently employed within the Mount Carmel (Ohio) Health System as an AG-ACNP. Within my role, I rotate between Mount Carmel East, West and St. Ann's. I assist with management of patients in the ICU as well as respond to all codes, stroke alerts and heart teams. I am fully credentialed to intubate and insert arterial and central lines. 

Describe your teaching style. 

While this is my first full-time teaching role, I like to think I have more of a facilitator style of teaching. I focus more in the clinical aspect of teaching, therefore a lot of the activities and assignments I develop are more activity-based and encourage self-learning, as opposed to a lecture style.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

My husband and I are huge soccer fans; we have season tickets and attend every home Columbus Crew SC match.

What is a “fun fact” about you? 

My husband and I live outside Columbus, Ohio, on a small farm and have a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. We raise show and beef cattle.

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Dr. Paul Arthur, Dr. Ashley Carter, Karla Diekemper and Dr. Amy Thornton

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