Judy Shackelford, BSN, MSN, PhD retired as Dean of Academic Affairs on December 16, 2022, after many years of dedicated service to St. John’s College of Nursing. Judy began her career with HSHS as a staff nurse at HSHS St. John’s Hospital and later began her teaching career at the college. Judy attended Springfield College and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for her BSN and the University of Illinois in Champaign for her MSN. She was the first faculty member to obtain a professor rank at St. John’s College, studying at University of Missouri St. Louis for her PhD in Nursing.

“While you are individually accountable and responsible for your own job and profession, it takes a lot of teamwork to accomplish things in life. At St. John’s College, I always had the support of faculty, staff, students and administration. My family also gave me a strong foundation to grow into my profession.” 

Working alongside her colleagues, Judy’s work on major initiatives for the college included helping to change the curriculum from a diploma degree program to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), developing the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, developing the first License Practical Nurse (LPN) to BSN program in Illinois and developing a Doctor of Nursing Program (DNP) with a BSN to DNP track and a post-master’s track. Judy developed the college’s accredited Department of Continuing Education. The department has provided leadership development for front-line nurse leaders throughout HSHS, housed the Faith Community Nursing curriculum and provided continuing education for over 100 nurses in more than seven counties. 

Judy has also remained involved in the Springfield community, participating as a board member for community organizations at the state and national level, volunteering and participating in the Adopt-A-Street Program with both St. John’s College of Nursing and the Langfelder family, and has contributed philanthropically to St. John’s Hospital. Judy and her husband, Dennis Shackelford, owned six locations of Judy’s Hallmark Shop in central Illinois, all of which supported local charitable organizations including St. John’s. 

“My profession has always been nursing, although being a small business owner helps to grow knowledge and skills that can be applied in any profession. It has been a blessing to work for an organization that values service and integrates it into your job.”

“We are so thankful for Judy’s dedication to St. John’s College of Nursing and all she has done for the school. It has been a pleasure to work alongside someone who exemplifies our mission,” said Charlene Aaron, chancellor of St. John’s College of Nursing. 

St. John’s College of Nursing was founded in 1886 by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis with the mission to care for the sick and needy of the community in a spirit of joy, respect and commitment to competence. From that day to the present, the values and vision of the Hospital Sisters have underscored and directed the efforts of the students and faculty.

The college is now welcoming Elaine Hardy, PhD, RN who accepted the position of dean of academic affairs. She began the role January 2, 2023, and has lengthy experience as an assistant professor, instructor and faculty member at many nursing colleges and universities across the country, as well as vast clinical experience in nursing and other clinical roles. She is a seasoned academic presenter and published researcher.

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