Ball named College of Nursing Dean
Dr. Vicki Ball’s specialty is teaching nursing leadership. When the position of interim dean of the CSU College of Nursing came available in January, she realized she needed to be willing to step out and lead.
She planned to go back to her role as director of the Master of Science in Nursing program once a dean was appointed, but God had other plans.
Officially named the dean effective July 1, Ball said she started to see how God could use the platform to have a bigger impact on the profession as a whole, on students, and on faculty.
Dr. Jackie Fish, vice president for academic affairs, said, “I am so grateful that God led Dr. Vicki Ball to accept our offer to lead the College of Nursing! Her deep belief in listening to God’s guidance as we serve our students brings a strong Christian leader to take CSU nursing students successfully through the challenging pursuit of a nursing degree. Dr. Ball’s former career in the Air Force, combined with her eight years at CSU, and her excellent academic and professional credentials ensure our students they are learning from extremely well-prepared nursing faculty.”
Ball’s experience includes 23 years of service in the U.S. Air Force as a nurse officer, and her assignments included Medical Operations Squadron Commander, Primary Care Flight Commander, Congressional Nurse Fellow, Deputy Director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, Nurse Manager of inpatient and outpatient units, and clinical nurse in medical-surgical, oncology, multiservice, and emergency care units. Her service also included a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2010.
Ball said, “I’ve tried very hard in my professional career and personal life to get a sense of where God was leading. I’ve tried not to do good things when He’s sitting over here with the great things.” She discovered she had a calling to teach and began her educator career at Macon State, now Middle Georgia State University.
In 2014 she accepted a position with the Charleston Southern College of Nursing. In 2015 she became director of the MSN program which gave her the ability to impact students at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Ball said COVID showed the public what a demanding profession nursing is, physically and emotionally. She said nurses often feel undervalued. “Healthcare is a battlefield right now. We are preparing the next generation of healthcare warriors.”
One of her biggest goals for the College of Nursing is to give the nursing seniors tools for staying healthy mentally and physically. Developing resilience is particularly important and exposing students to as many clinical areas as possible.
Ball said, “We have good relationships with all the major hospitals. Our students get a unique experience with three big hospital systems in Charleston, all with different types of missions, such as for-profit, research, and faith-based organizations.”
Training competitive students is Ball’s goal. “We’re looking at what sets up a student for success,” she said. “We want our admission criteria to be evidence-based. One interesting thing we are seeing is reading comprehension skills need to be high for nurses because they will do a lot of reading.”
Retaining faculty is a large part of Ball’s job as the dean. She said, “Nurses take a huge pay cut to teach. I work to help them find fulfillment. It is an opportunity to make an impact on the profession.”
Her plans as dean include creating a culture where faculty, staff, and students feel loved and valued. Ball said, “I never want a student to feel like they are just a letter grade.” She wants students and faculty to feel equipped for what they are called to do.
Ball holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Clemson University, a Master of Science in Nursing from Florida State University, and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Liberty University. She is a member of multiple professional organizations and has published articles with several publications.
Ball’s research interests include the use of escape room technology in education, the lived experiences of nurse educators with prior military careers, simulation in nursing education, and nursing public policy advocacy. She is a member of First Baptist Church of Charleston where she serves on the safety committee and as a children’s AWANA teacher.