The Gestalt Institute of Cleveland

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GIC Grad Wins $410,000 Grant

Attributes effectiveness to her Gestalt training

Sue Taft

To address the shortage of nurses, says Susan Taft, you have to address the shortage of nursing faculty.

Taft, an associate professor at Kent State University's College of Nursing (and graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland), believes there are plenty of nurses out there with master's degrees who would like to teach but are, for various reasons, unable to accept a faculty appointment: Some are caring for young children or an aging relative, some are disabled, some just live too far from an accredited School of Nursing and can't move.

But a lot of these highly knowledgeable and experienced people could, she believes, teach nursing science or theory online. Taft's plan -and her own distinguished record- were enough to persuade two national foundations offering the Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN) program to award her a $200,000 grant through the Cleveland Foundation. The latter matched the funds, and the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation tossed in additional support for the project.

Taft's proposal was one of nine chosen from a competition held by a coalition led by the Robert Wood Johnson and North West Health Foundations that drew 43 proposals from around the nation.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has announced that Taft will be soon be teaching nursing faculty from KSU, Cleveland State University, the University of Akron and Ursuline College how to create online nursing classes that can be taught by non-traditional educators. The four schools, in turn, expect to be able to offer these courses to masters-prepared nurses on line by Spring 2012.

Taft credits a big part of her success during her more than 20-year academic career to her Gestalt training, which she completed before beginning a doctorate in Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University. "I know I got even more out of my Ph.D. program because I did my Gestalt training first," she says. The latter opened up multiple modes of thinking and learning for her, she explains, and showed her how to use them, simultaneously and in tandem, to take in copious amounts of new knowledge and give her valuable insights (see sidebar) that have served her well throughout an illustrious career.

In addition to teaching courses in Organizational Analysis, Leadership & Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Taft serves as Director of KSU's MSN-MBA/MPA Dual Degree Programs. She has been invited to give papers, speeches and presentations on her research all over the United States, and has consulted with hospitals, private companies and school districts throughout Ohio.