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John Carroll University President Alan R. Miciak today announced the appointment of Melissa Cole, MSN, APRN, ANP-BC, CENP, as the institution’s inaugural Director of Nursing and Strategic Healthcare Innovation. Cole will oversee the recently announced Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and the expansion of John Carroll’s academic healthcare portfolio.  


Cole joins John Carroll University from Cleveland-based University Hospitals where she was Vice President for Integrated Delivery Operations. A nurse practitioner in emergency medicine, Cole brings 20 years of clinical experience, healthcare administration leadership, and higher education experience to John Carroll at a pivotal time of growth for the 136-year-old Jesuit institution.


“Melissa is a proven leader, collaborator, and innovator in the healthcare industry, and we are thrilled to welcome her into our community,” said Miciak. “She brings a wide range of experience, expertise, and industry relationships to John Carroll as we grow our academic healthcare portfolio. Above all, she is focused on providing rigorous and well-rounded training to our students as they prepare to serve patients in an evolving world.”

John Carroll’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program received full approval from the Higher Learning Commission, the institutional accreditor for John Carroll University, in October. Students seeking to learn more about the program or to apply may visit The BSN program will enroll cohorts in both the fall and spring semesters, beginning in the fall of 2023. 


“The healthcare industry is undergoing a seismic shift following the pandemic,” said Cole, who will also join the faculty as Associate Professor of Nursing. “John Carroll University’s board of directors and leadership team recognize the importance of training discerning medical leaders with a well-rounded, ethical approach to patient care. I feel privileged to join an incredible faculty and administration who are committed to this important work.”


She continued: “Our rich and rigorous liberal arts core, grounded in Jesuit values, and our expertise in business will serve as foundations for a nursing curriculum that will develop compassionate, mission driven healthcare leaders,” said Cole. “We will focus on training the nurses and care teams of the future who are prepared for the complexities of patient care in both the hospital and community setting with an important focus on caring for the whole person.”


At University Hospitals, Cole served in a variety of leadership capacities beginning in 2016 as Vice President for the Center for Emergency Medicine, where she was responsible for leading and developing strategic initiatives across 13 emergency departments. In 2020, during the pandemic, she was named Acting System Chief Nurse Executive and Clinical Operations Chief,  with responsibility for a wide range of clinical services including nursing. Most recently, in her role as Vice President for Integrated Delivery Options, Cole was tasked with shaping the value-focused strategy to enhance clinical quality and ease of access for patients across the University Hospitals Health System. 


Prior to UH, Cole served in growing leadership roles at Tampa General Hospital including two years as Trauma Program Manager and three years as Director of Emergency, Psychiatric, and Trauma Services.


Cole spent three years at the beginning of her career as a staff nurse and clinical instructor at the Cleveland Clinic followed by three more years as a nurse manager, neuroscience director, and clinical instructor at HCA Brandon Regional Hospital near Tampa, Florida. 


Academically, Cole has served as clinical instructor at the University of Tampa, and is currently a collaborative faculty member at USF and adjunct at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.


She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ursuline College in 2003, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tampa in 2012, and has successfully completed all of the requirements for her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Case Western Reserve University. 


The BSN program adds to John Carroll’s portfolio of healthcare-related academic offerings of direct patient care programs, including psychology, exercise science, and counseling; and pre-health professions majors like biology and chemistry that serve as the foundation for graduates to pursue professional careers across the healthcare spectrum, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy.