By Eric Breier
There was a time earlier this year when Dr. Lorna Kendrick thought she might take a position at another university.
That was before she was introduced to the nursing faculty at Cal State San Marcos.
“Meeting the faculty here changed my mind about where I wanted to go,” said Kendrick, who began her position as CSUSM’s School of Nursing director on July 5. “It was truly getting to know the faculty and hearing their goals and who they were.
“Having been here for a few months, it was the best decision. What I saw during the interview process is truly who they are. This is an awesome, awesome faculty. I can’t say enough about them.”
Kendrick came to CSUSM from the University of Phoenix San Diego campus where she served as the director and campus college chair of the College of Health Professions School of Nursing. She has previously served in a variety of administrative and academic roles throughout the country, including associate director of the BSN program at Tennessee State University, director of clinical sites for Nashville General Hospital and faculty positions in Schools of Nursing at the University of Alaska, UCLA, Vanderbilt University and California Baptist University.
“Dr. Kendrick is a believer in situational leadership and stresses teamwork, transparency and compassion,” said Amy Carney, an associate professor who is serving a one-year appointment as the associate director of the School of Nursing. “She is a strong supporter of student-centered mentoring, and the School of Nursing is pleased to welcome her.”
As Kendrick settles into her new role, she is focusing on her goals for the School of Nursing. Among those goals are increasing faculty governance, growing global health experiences and building on relationships with community partners.
“I think the faculty are enjoying it and feeling empowered,” Kendrick said. “They’re always telling me they feel hopeful and excited, which is a good thing to hear.”
One of Kendrick’s first orders of business is finding more funding for the University’s four nurse-run community clinics. To that end, she has enlisted the aid of Ed Ashley, director of business community relations in the College of Business Administration, to help with some of the operational and strategic planning.
Kendrick has even stepped in to teach a course on the CSUSM at Temecula campus, which has helped her connect with students and better understand faculty challenges when teaching.
“I like to engage with students and I want them to know they can come and talk to me,” she said.
Teaching at the Temecula campus has added meaning for Kendrick, who fondly recalls meeting a group of students there during her interview process.
One of the students asked Kendrick what would make her stand above the other candidates. She said that with the number of experienced nursing leaders in the industry, any of the candidates would be a great choice. Each person might have a different focus, she said, but all would be great leaders for the School of Nursing.
But if there was one area that set Kendrick apart, it was her research experience. She received her doctorate and later worked at UCLA, a Tier 1 research institution, and her background and training will aid CSUSM faculty interested in developing research.
Kendrick describes herself as relational and says her leadership style mimics that. Whether she is attending a curriculum committee meeting or brings in faculty to discuss a topic, she wants to know their thoughts and ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard.
It all comes back to how impressed she was by CSUSM’s faculty during her interview process.
“They are leaders in their own right,” Kendrick said. “They are hard workers, they are committed and they are fun to work with. It’s just a delightful group of people. It was their personalities and their character that caused me to really want to come here.”