College of Nursing Expands Leadership Roster

By Office of the President | May 24, 2023

The College of Nursing announces the recent appointments of Elizabeth Ritt, Ed.D., MSN, NEA-BC, NEA, and Pamela B. Simmons, Ph.D., FNP-C CNE (ret.), strengthening its executive leadership roster.

photo of Elizabeth RittElizabeth Ritt, Ed.D., MSN, NEA-BC, NEA, Clinical Professor and Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Nursing, assists the college with strategic planning and works with doctoral students on their scholarly projects. Since her appointment, Dr. Ritt has taught in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Before joining the Downstate faculty, Dr. Ritt was a tenured professor, department chair, dean, and provost at several institutions. Since the inception of the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Dr. Ritt has served on several of its committees and was Chair of its Board of Commissioners, which is the final authority on all policy and accreditation matters affecting CCNE.

Dr. Ritt is nationally renowned for her ability to build strategic partnerships, develop new and innovative academic programs, and grow robust enrollment across various academic disciplines. Her background includes executive-level expertise in regional, national, and programmatic accreditation; adult learning principles; strategic and financial planning; assessment and evaluation; faculty development; and online education.

Dr. Ritt earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing from North Park University, a Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University, and a Doctor of Education with an emphasis on Leadership and Educational Policy Studies from Northern Illinois University. She also holds certifications as a Nurse Executive-Advanced and Nurse Educator.

photo of Pamela SimmonsPamela B. Simmons, Ph.D., FNP-C CNE (ret.), joined the College of Nursing faculty as a Professor earlier this month and will teach in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

A registered nurse for more than 40 years, Dr. Simmons’s professional career includes administrative, clinical, and nursing education positions, most recently at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, where she retired as Senior Director and Professor Emerita for the College of Nursing in 2022. Before that, Dr. Simmons worked at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, first as director of staff development/administrative services and later as Chief Nursing Officer.

At Northwestern State, Dr. Simmons provided leadership in curriculum development and program effectiveness for graduate and undergraduate nursing programs and taught nursing theory, nursing administration, and nursing education courses.

Like Dr. Ritt, Dr. Simmons has expertise in accreditation processes, having served in various volunteer roles at the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), including completing two terms on its Board.

Dr. Simmons earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, a Post-Masters Certificate (FNP) from Northwestern State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from Texas Women’s University. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.