UMFK professor recognized for contributions to nursing education

FORT KENT, Maine — The University of Maine at Fort Kent has announced that Dr. Tanya Sleeper has been promoted from associate professor to full professor, an honor many faculty work toward during their career. 

“After serving in the rank of assistant professor, faculty are promoted to associate professor and then to full professor which involves an in-depth review process,” said UMFK President and Provost Dr. Deb Hedeen. “One must demonstrate that they meet or exceed the defined expectations within teaching, research and service.”

In 1998, Sleeper earned her bachelor of science in nursing from UMFK. She then went on to earn her master’s in business from Husson College in 2000 and in 2004 she earned her master of science in nursing and became a geriatric nurse practitioner. She earned her Ph.D. in public policy and administration from Walden University in 2013. 

Sleeper has been with UMFK since 2008. 

A board-certified geriatric nurse practitioner, Sleeper has conducted research and disseminated the findings through publications and presentations on such topics as health policy, health insurance, genomics, and health leadership. She is a proponent of hands-on experiences and incorporates such methods in her own teaching practice. 

“Dr. Sleeper has been instrumental in assisting the nursing program to refine and enhance our nursing program curriculum,” said UMFK Dean of Undergraduate Nursing Dr. Erin Soucy. “Her commitment to high engagement learning strategies is effective and valuable, particularly to enhance student success but it also contributes to curricular refinement. Further, her vast knowledge of healthcare and education means that she contributes in meaningful ways in every aspect of our program, including curricular development, teaching methodologies, and evaluation.”

Currently pursuing a health law degree at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Sleeper intends to graduate in May 2022. She is studying health law as it relates to healthcare, business and legal settings. She brings valuable information to faculty and students in terms of the intersection between health care and the law and also shares insight in terms of academic policy development. During her law studies she has been recognized for her wealth of knowledge and has been asked to present to the school’s alumni.  

The Hamline School of Law recently honored Sleeper with the CALI Excellence for the Future Award, which recognizes achievement by law students in their studies. The award is given to the student with the highest grade in the class as determined by the instructor or registrar.

Sleeper also works for Aroostook Home Health Services/Valley Home Health Services, having served in various roles since 1999. She is currently the executive director and the director of nursing. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and the University of Southern Maine.

She serves on the RSU 39 Board of Directors as the chairwoman; is part of the Maine Rural Geriatric Conference planning committee; vice chairwoman of the Pines Health Services Board of Directors; a committee member of the Aroostook District Coordinating Council for Public Health; and vice president of the Aroostook Mental Health Center board of directors.

In 2008, Sleeper was given the UMFK Nurse Alumnus award and in 2019, she was given the UMFK Outstanding Faculty Award. St. Joseph’s College of Maine awarded her as the Graduate Nursing Faculty Member of the Year in 2013.

She is part of the editorial board for the International Journal of Nursing and Clinical Practices as well as the Journal of Comprehensive Nursing Care and Research. She has been a faculty associate for the University of Maine’s Center on Aging since 2017.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Dr. Sleeper’s promotion to the rank of full professor,” said Hedeen. “Her contributions as an educator, scholar and servant are a great benefit to our students and institution. We congratulate her on all of her accolades and honors.”

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