A little more than 16 years ago, Phyllis Graham-Dickerson was a vice president of patient care but really wanted to get back into academia.
A chance meeting with a former colleague, and Graham-Dickerson had a lead. She just wasn’t sure where it was.
“Ironically, if you would have asked me 16 years ago about Regis, I would have known nothing,” she said.
Now, Graham-Dickerson serves as an assistant dean and professor in the Loretto Heights School of Nursing. She was recently one of 30 nursing leaders in the nation selected to participate in the American Association of Colleges and Nursing Wharton Executive Leadership Program.
The four-day program was taught by Wharton business faculty and provided concepts to enhance leadership skills. It covered a bevy of topics including entrepreneurship, innovation, strategy development and revenue generation in higher education.
Graham-Dickerson recently sat down with Regis Today to chat about the conference and what lies ahead for the veteran educator.
You were one of a handful of nursing leaders selected for this exclusive program. What were some of your key takeaways?
We need to be synchronizing what happens in the market place with how we take that information and integrate it into higher education. Also looking at if what we are teaching in higher education is needed in the real world. It was mainly to find stability but still be agile in health care. Portions I think we can do right away here. For others we need to look at what we can do now and what we can do in two or three years.
You’ve working in all parts of nursing. Why stay in academia and why stay at Regis?
Whenever someone asks me this, I tell them this place fits my soul. It fits my belief system and my spiritual and value system. The Jesuit tradition of lifelong learning, magis and cura personalis is really who I am. It’s nice to be in a place where I can work with others and just be myself.
What’s next for you?
My ambition is to eventually be a dean. My other ambition is to write a book on what it’s like to be a black woman in academia. I want to do something that will share my experience and help other black women.
Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
My whole life revolves around family. I have three grandsons. We go bowling, go-carting and they are teaching me to play video games. That’s not going so well.