Assistant editor’s note: Sparki Mangels came to Keuka in July as chair of the nursing division and associate professor of nursing. She is the former director of SUNY Brockport’s RN (registered nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science degree in nursing) program. Mangels holds an Ed.D. in educational administration from the University of Rochester; a M.S. in nursing, adult heath and nursing administration from SUNY Buffalo; a B.S. in nursing from Alfred University; and an A.A.S. in nursing from Corning Community College.
CURRENTS: Talk about your previous position.
MANGELS: When I started at Brockport, there was only one nursing program—the traditional four years of nursing which include two years of liberal arts. It was designed for students who had no nursing experience. But RNs were enrolling in the program. I thought that a specific program for the RNs—adult learners—would be more effective. So, I developed the program with a committee, writing five of the courses myself. That was in 2007. Our first courses were offered at Lakeside Hospital in Brockport one evening a week. When I left, we had secured a second site.
CURRENTS: Tell us about your background.
MANGELS: I began working as a nurse at Corning Hospital when I was 15-years-old. As a high school regent’s student, I was enrolled in the BOCES program. I earned my LPN at age 17. I’ve known that nursing was the career for me since I was 4-years-old (I had an aunt who was a nurse who I admired a lot). I was an instructor in nursing education/resource development (staff development) at University of Rochester Medical Center for seven years and held various nursing posts at Strong Memorial Hospital, from staff nurse to charge nurse to nursing supervisor. At the University of Rochester School of Nursing, I was a senior associate (as a doctoral student), director of clinical and educational resources/instructor of clinical nursing, clinical site coordinator, nurse manager (Clinical and Educational Resource Center), clinical instructor in nursing, and teaching assistant.
CURRENTS: What do you consider your areas of expertise?
MANGELS: Leadership and management, issues and trends, community health nursing, shared governance models, and curriculum development.
CURRENTS: What attracted you to Keuka?
MANGELS: I’ve been coming to Keuka Lake since I was a child (my grandfather was a game warden in the area), and I grew up in Corning. I’ve always worked with Keuka grads and found them to be highly educated with great critical thinking and problem solving skills—great nurses with solid educations.
CURRENTS: What are your responsibilities as division chair?
MANGELS: I am responsible for maintaining accreditation standards. That means making site visits and assuring that faculty, adjuncts and students are doing well. During my site visits, I have introduced myself to the students and thanked them for choosing Keuka. I recently attended a dean’s meeting in Washington, D.C. where 517 deans converged to discuss issues that affect all of us, such as faculty shortage and salaries. I will likely teach my first Keuka course in the spring, either Leadership and Management or Professional Issues. My real love is teaching and watching students succeed.
CURRENTS: What do you see as the strengths of the nursing program?
MANGELS: The quality of the faculty and the students. Also, the concept of adult learning and the way the program is designed to meet the needs of the adult learner who is working either full or part time. There are no exams; students meet the outcome objectives of the program through writing, including reflective journaling, delivering presentations, and other venues. The accelerated format—courses are 5-6 weeks in length—is a big plus. The cohort model, where they start and end with the same group of students, is another advantage. Also, that we bring the program to them so they don’t have to travel far. Additionally, we have a credit manager who keeps track of the courses that they’ve taken and the ones that they still need to take, and also arranges to have some elective courses taught on site.
CURRENTS: Where do you see the program going in the future?
MANGELS: We hope to offer a master’s degree in nursing education beginning in fall 2009. It will depend on getting all of the approvals we need from the entire College faculty and state. It would be in response to the huge nursing faculty shortage that is being experienced in the community and regionally. We are also revising the curriculum for the undergraduate program. I’ve already made one change in the program requirements. No longer is there an age requirement of 25 or older. That was a requirement that was put in place when nursing was offered as a four-year program on campus also, but that is no longer the case. We’re also looking at partnering with nursing in China.
CURRENTS: On a personal note, could you share how you got your nickname?
MANGELS: I got my nickname because my parents wanted to have boys. They had their first daughter, Elaine, who they called “Chuckie.” Then came Lorraine, who they called “Louie.” I came and they called me “Sparki.” Then they had a boy, Hank, who we girls called Henrietta until he got old enough to slap us. My family is silly.