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Theresa A. Kessler


Professor and Kreft Endowed Chair

Valparaiso University

Theresa A. Kessler is Professor and holds the Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science at Valparaiso University, College of Nursing and Health Professions.

As an experienced academician and researcher, Dr. Kessler has created programs of care that are cost-effective and provide access to health promotion interventions for vulnerable at-risk populations such as those who are underserved. Her funded research, collaboration with other scientists, and publications led to advances in the method of measuring cognitive appraisal and its impact on improving quality of life in multiple populations. The instrument she developed, the Cognitive Appraisal of Health Scale, has been translated into six languages and is used in research globally. Dr. Kessler has sustained a student-faculty collaborative model mentoring undergraduate nursing students in research. Outcomes include improving health behaviors of college students through campus wide policy initiatives. The model has been disseminated at national and international conferences and adopted by other educators. The model advances nursing science by increasing undergraduate students’ commitment to graduate education and engaging them in research early in their careers. Dr. Kessler has advanced credentialing science through her leadership at the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She directed the transformation of renewal requirements for certified nurses, led the fundamental shift in using outcome-based credit rather than time-based credit for demonstrating continuing competence, expanded options for certified nurses to meet renewal requirements, and advanced credentialing policy nationally and internationally.

Dr. Kessler received her BSN from Purdue University, MSN from Indiana University, and PhD from University of Kentucky.

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