First Donor Supported Research Professor at UW-Eau Claire in the College of Nursing

Sonja Meiers & Dean Young speak on the addition of the first Moore research professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences

More stories from Claire Schoenemann

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Sonja Meiers is referred to as someone who “exemplifies exactly who we had hoped to be our inaugural Moore professor” by Dean Linda Young, UW-Eau Claire’s Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. 

Meiers has served as an educator, researcher and a department leader throughout her career at both Winona State University and Minnesota State University-Mankato. 

Meiers said that the possibility of a research oriented, nurse science position intrigued her when she was contacted by the university. She continued on to speak highly of both UW-Eau Claire and the International Family Nursing Association. 

I have known colleagues at UW-Eau Claire through my involvement in family nursing research and from the International Family Nursing Association,” Meiers said, “and have always been impressed by their commitment to growing solid nursing science.”

Professor Charlotte Sortedahl, the nursing department chair, said Meiers will begin her new role in this position at the university in January.

Meiers’ role will consist of not only continuing her research in family health and family nursing, but expanding the research to include both faculty and students. Meiers said her role will contribute to not only research on campus, but clinical scholarships as well. 

My focus will also be on supporting the development of research and clinical scholarship knowledge and skills among faculty and students in the Department of Nursing,” Meiers said.  

In addition, she will continue to work with various stakeholders to not only develop nursing science, but enhance both patient and family care. 

Meiers also emphasized the rarity in holding a nursing scientist position at a comprehensive school like UW-Eau Claire. 

“I look forward to continuing to develop nursing research and clinical scholarship talents among the current faculty and encouraging new areas of scholarship to meet the needs of nursing and communities,” Meiers said. 

 Meiers also emphasized her enjoyment in mentoring faculty and students in the realm of analytic thinking, and said she looks forward to creating new science outcomes within this position.

Professors generally spend a large portion of their time teaching and providing instruction, however, in Meier’s case, she will spend most of her time conducting research, but will dedicate more focused time towards teaching. 

Meiers noted the uniqueness of her position in this regard.

“I will be teaching in the area of nursing science along with other colleagues in the Department of Nursing and utilizing my leadership skills to build a team of nurse investigators to address immediate and futuristic needs in health care.”

Dean Young noted how this position is also somewhat revolutionary. 

“As an inaugural professor that is funded by these very generous donors, she has this rare opportunity to create space here on campus for building relationships and moving the science of nursing forward,” Young said.

 Since there is no precedent for this position, she will have the task of establishing her role as a research professor and building something entirely new in this department. 

According to Young, the selection process of Meiers for this position was relatively straightforward.  

We all felt, including myself as Dean, that she was the best candidate in the pool because of her experience in research, her track record of funding, acquisition, as well as her maturity as a faculty person,” Young said.  

Dean Young continued to say that she is delighted to have Meiers on board and soon to be a part of the university. 

I am truly honored by this opportunity and am incredibly grateful to Jane W. and James E. Moore. I was particularly impressed with their vision for creating nursing science that supports preventative health and intends to influence nursing education for years to come.” 

Meiers illustrated not only her desire to build relationships with new colleagues, but also to support all of their different avenues and enhance care and opportunities for patients, families, and communities at the hands of those at UW-Eau Claire. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected]