Calvin University selects school of health dean

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Adejoke Ayoola. Courtesy Calvin University

A longtime Calvin University faculty member will step into the role of dean of a new school of health.

The university selected Adejoke Bolanle Ayoola, chair of the nursing department, as the inaugural dean of its new School of Health, effective July 1.

Ayoola has been with Calvin University since 2007, initially working as an assistant professor in the nursing department until 2014. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. 

“The School of Health will be a transformative initiative for Calvin as we live into our vision of a liberal arts university and trusted partner in education,” said Noah Toly, provost of Calvin University. “Dr. Ayoola has been a leader in the areas that will distinguish the Calvin University School of Health, including community, global and employer partnership.”

In her new role, Ayoola will serve approximately 600 undergraduate and over 75 graduate students studying in health-related programs and dozens of other students in pre-professional tracks. 

“I love creatively designing new programs in collaboration with people and in response to identified needs,” Ayoola said. “The idea of serving as a founding dean of the School of Health is exciting because it will provide me with opportunities to work with stakeholders to shape the School of Health’s programs.”

Since joining Calvin, Ayoola has focused on serving the underrepresented neighborhoods of Grand Rapids. Her care led to numerous initiatives aimed at improving maternal and infant health and promoting a culture of health among young girls in West Michigan. 

In addition to her work at the university, Ayoola is a member of the American Association of Nurses, the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the Midwest Nursing Research Society. From 2012-15, she served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar, and in 2020, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, a significant milestone in the nursing profession. She also managed a number of grant-based programs and research projects, and she currently serves as a reviewer on the editorial board of 12 scholarly publications. 

“I am motivated to act when I see people or members of my community hurting — physically, emotionally and spiritually — and when the vulnerable population experience health challenges,” Ayoola said. “I see health as an important part of what God wants for us.” 

Calvin’s School of Health will hold its first classes this fall. The school was established through a $15 million donation from an anonymous alumni donor, as the Business Journal previously reported.

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