From her youth, Donna Boland was always interested in knowing the mechanics of how things fit together to perform appropriately. As an adult these interests sharpened both her observational and inquiry skills. It was fascinating to see how others thought and the ideas generated from this process. This interest led to the practice of nursing and the desire to impact nursing through the teaching of others.
Experiences obtained through graduate education fueled a passion for better understanding of how people learn and how best to build formal and informal learning experiences into curricula that enhance and sustain learning capacities for diverse populations of learners. Having the opportunity to hold positions of associate dean for undergraduate programming both at Brigham Young University and here at Indiana, Boland had the amazing experience of working with some of the brightest and innovative nurse educators in two institutions of higher education that emphasized the importance of balance between general and professional education. Outcomes of these experiences included establishing a SON system-wide ASN and BSN outcome based curriculum; working as a task force member to create the PhD curriculum; aligning an honors track in the BSN program with the re-envisioned IUPUI honors program; working with IUPUI faculty to design IUPUI and SON learning communities, thematic learning communities, and summer bridge program for entering freshman; and designing and coordinating an accelerated option in the BSN program for second degree students. Throughout these and other curricular efforts was the need to evaluate the contribution that curricular changes had on student learning. The emphasis on evaluation of learning was paramount to the investment that both campus and school were making to attract and retain graduate students committed to learning. This emphasis quickly led to participating in evaluation efforts both within the University and at the School, culminating in assuming the position of associate dean for evaluation for nursing.
In the broader state and national scene Donna held positions on national professional nursing accrediting bodies, provided consultation to schools of nursing nationally and internationally, provided leadership to statewide nursing workforce efforts, and contributed to the professional nursing educational science.