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Janelle Chiasera hit the ground running as new dean of the School of Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University last month. (Photo by Lisa Consorte )
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Though a newcomer to North Haven, Janelle Chiasera is already making a difference.
“I love it here,” said Chiasera. “The people are incredibly friendly. There is a real genuineness that is appealing to me. I feel like I fit.”
Quinnipiac University would agree.
Newly appointed as dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University, Janelle spent the past 13 years in professorship and leadership roles at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama.
A commitment to excellence and ambition for the educational institution of which she is a part, permeates her professional style.
In speaking about her past experiences, she says, “whether it was at Ohio State or the University of Alabama, we have always thought of ourselves as leaders.”
She knows that it will be no different at Quinnipiac.
“We have to ask ourselves, ‘How do we create leaders and how are we a model for other people to follow?’” Janelle says.
She says she aims to build on Quinnipiac’s program to create a leading school of health sciences with the right vision and strategy to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce.
Her specific goals will be based upon an analysis of the future of health care and an understanding “how we make a distinctive impact as we move forward,” she says.
Interdisciplinary coursework based on core programming for health sciences is fundamental, “then developing niche type programs that fill an advanced specialty” is important, according to Janelle.
Janelle draws on a rich educational and professional background to accomplish these goals.
She has a B.S. in medical technology from Bowling Green State University, a M.S. in allied medical professions, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in quantitative research, evaluation, and measurement from The Ohio State University.
The sciences, such as biology and chemistry, appealed to Janelle early on in her educational career, as did the analysis in laboratory work.
“I had this love of detective work, figuring things out,” she said.
One of her first professional experiences was as a research assistant for a children’s hospital in Ohio. It would help shape her future as an educator and leader in academia.
“About a year in, I became more interested in new employee training and student internships,” said Janelle. “That was the start of my love of education.”
Janelle credits having a strong support system in place, an informal and formal professional network of mentors, as an asset to her career.
Her desire to help other women cultivate their potential in higher education and provide them with networking opportunities similar to her own, led Janelle to take a major role in developing the Alabama Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education. This chapter is a part of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network established in 1977.
In 2015, Janelle participated in a prestigious higher education administration fellowship under the mentorship and guidance of Clemson University President Dr. Jim Clements.
“It was a really transforming experience for me as a leader,” said Janelle. “I better understand how presidents navigate a high-stress, demanding environment that is incredibly complex, with faculty, staff, boards and students.”
During her fellowship, she completed two major university-wide projects at Clemson University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham that focused on diversity and inclusion and a new budget model, among her many other projects and assignments.
In addition, Janelle has published books and peer-reviewed articles on clinical chemistry, receiving the Joseph K. Kleiner Award for best article in 2018 from the Clinical Laboratory Science Journal.
She has also presented nationally.
“A lot of my speaking centers on two main topics, clinical chemistry and leadership type talks such as how to lead change, and what makes successful leaders,” said Janelle.
As regional director for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, Janelle is heavily involved in developing key initiatives to advance the profession of laboratory science.
She also worked for the National Accrediting Agency in Clinical Laboratory Science, approving and accrediting four-year educational programs and fostering innovation in the field.
Out of her many endeavors, Janelle says that what she finds most rewarding is leading change.
“It’s the most challenging, but the most rewarding,” she said. “Facilitating people through growth and change is an exciting part of the job.”
She stays up-to-date on current trends by reading journals and staying connected to changes in the health system through advisory boards and the various people in her network.
Janelle is also committed to forging relationships with the greater on-campus community.
“When it comes to students, it is the utmost to be present,” said Janelle. “Making the time to sit down with students, faculty and staff, helps me stay connected.”
She makes herself available for informal encounters as well. For example, she will spend time sitting in common areas, “so people can stop by and share good news and bad news,” she says.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Janelle currently resides with her husband of 18 years, John Nagy, and their greyhound, Blaze.
When the couple isn’t canoing or kayaking, they have been out enjoying their first fall in New England.
“There is no better time to be here, with all of these beautiful fall colors exploding,” said Janelle. “It’s fabulous.”
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