Associate Dean for Undergraduate Nursing Programs
Cynthia Gustafson, PhD;

Email: cynthia.gustafson@uprovidence.edu; Office Phone: 406-465-1352

Cynthia Gustafson, PhD, RN joined the University of Providence, School of Health Professions in August 2017. She previously served as the the Executive Officer for the MT Board of Nursing. Prior to that, Cynthia has a long career as a nursing educator in Montana where she was the Chair of the Nursing Program at Carroll College and also held faculty positions at Montana State University, Concordia College and North Dakota State University. During her career as a nurse, she has had a clinical focus in public health nursing and served in community health clinics and and migrant health. Cynthia focused on the specialty of parish nursing and was instrumental in preparing parish nurses in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. The highlight of her work in this area was to prepare the first parish nurses for Swaziland, Africa as outreach workers to AIDS patients and their families. Cynthia holds a BA in nursing from Gustavus Adolphus College, MS in Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan.

Nursing Faculty:

Alice Dupler, J.D.
Alice Dupler, JD, MSN, ANP-BC, Esq. is a nurse practitioner and attorney who joined the University of Providence in 2017. As a staff nurse, Alice worked in Burn & Plastic Surgery, Step-Down Telemetry, Oncology and Renal Failure/Transplant Units. There she learned the importance of care and compassion, as well as nursing clinical expertise.

As a Nurse Practitioner in 1985, she transitioned to long term care where she began her career advocating for vulnerable populations including older adults, and those with developmental disabilities and mental health concerns. Alice accepted positions in management as an administrator and Vice-President of Operations where she learned health care finance.

In 1989, Alice was recruited to work as a surveyor and complaint investigator of abuse and neglect of older adults in Washington State. Twelve years later, she found her second passion when she began teaching students at Washington State University and Gonzaga University. For Alice, It is an honor and privilege to work with RN to BSN students who are pursuing excellence in the profession of nursing.

Pat Farmer, RN, FNP, DNP
Pat joined the University of Providence faculty in 2018.  Her clinical career focused on emergency services, from roles as a staff nurse in a Critical Access Hospital to management of a major metropolitan trauma center.  As a Nurse Practitioner, she provided primary care in a remote rural clinic.

Her lifelong devotion to nursing advocacy was enhanced by her education at The George Washington University, and she subsequently served as a Nurse Expert for the Center to Champion Nursing in Washington, DC and as a strategy consultant to the national Academic Progression in Nursing project.

Dr. Farmer has taught at all levels of nursing education and has lectured nationally and internationally on a broad range of topics, including rural trauma care, shiftwork adaptation, nursing education models, and interprofessional care. She is the recipient of the Outstanding Research Award from the International Shiftwork Symposium in Stockholm, and the Sigma Theta Tau International Award for Best Practice in Education Technology.  Teaching is her passion and her joy. 

Shelly Granger, MS
Sandra (Shelly) Granger, MS, RN, CCRN, is the newest faculty member this year. Shelly has been teaching online nursing courses since 2011 for Montana State University before joining University of Providence as a nursing instructor this summer. She is also currently employed, per diem, as a RN in the acute care setting (hospital) and has eight years of emergency room and intensive care unit nursing experience.

Shelly’s love for the clinical setting is a perfect fit for the program; she will primarily be teaching the RN-BSN online clinical courses with another faculty member. Shelly received her BSN from Montana State University and her MS in nursing education from the University of Wyoming.  Prior to becoming an RN, Shelly was a registered respiratory therapist for 17 years.

Janet Houston, MSN

Janet Houston, DNP, MSN, CPNP, began her nursing practice in a pediatric intensive care unit in 1990. After four years in the PICU, Janet completed her graduate program and spent the next 15 years as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner in various primary care clinics spanning four different states.

Janet has worked full-time as a nursing faculty member for the University of Providence RN-BSN Completion Program since 2009. In 2011, she was awarded the University’s Distance Learning Teaching Excellence Award and in 2013, she served as the interim nursing chair. Janet was awarded tenure in 2015 and she is a fellow of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners. Janet received her BSN from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, her MSN from the University of Utah in 1994, and completed her DNP program in nursing education leadership in November 2017.

Susan McCoy, MSN

Susan McCoy, MSN, RN, is a nursing educator who joined the University of Providence in 2017. She graduated from Loma Linda University and began her nursing career as a U.S. Navy nurse specializing in critical care. Following the military, Susan expanded her nursing skills in the community health sector and worked with a non-profit organization as the Health Education Director.

In this position, she developed community programs, including programs for the medically indigent population. Upon her completion of a Master’s degree in Nursing Education, she transitioned to teaching as an adjunct faculty member, working with many universities in the RN-BSN program and/or Health Sciences department. Susan has been teaching for 21 years and believes this is her calling.

Victoria Plagenz, PhD

Victoria Plagenz, Ph.D., RN, began her nursing career as a clinical nurse in a variety of acute care, pediatric and obstetrical units. She became a nurse educator for Montana State University-Northern in 2004 and ten years later, she came to University of Providence in 2014 as an adjunct professor.

Victoria accepted a full-time teaching position as an assistant professor of nursing in 2015 with the University. She completed her Ph.D. in nursing in fall 2015 and presented her dissertation at the 2016 Western Institute of Nursing National Conference. Victoria’s poster was titled, Correctional Nurses’ Experiences Caring for Prisoners Recovering from Methamphetamine Abuse: High burnout or confused identity? She is a member of Montana Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Kappa Phi.

Lynette Savage, PhD

Lynette Savage, Ph.D., RN, COI, has held a variety of nursing positions, including direct patient care, clinical specialist, educator, clinical project manager, nurse manager and director of quality improvement. Lynette accepted the first joint appointment academic position between Providence St. Joseph Health and University of Providence as a full-time assistant professor in May 2014. As part of the joint appointment, besides teaching, she works with staff nurses to promote evidence-based practice projects and nursing research. Lynette currently participates on the Providence Health & Services Institutional Review Board and the Providence St. Joseph Health Nursing Research Council. She is a member of the American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety, National League of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International.

Teresa Seright, PhD

Teresa joined the faculty in August, 2018. Teresa’s bedside practice spans 33 years in a variety of critical care areas including: ICU, ER, Flight, Recovery Room, and Cath Lab. She became a full time nurse educator in 2005, maintaining clinical competency while teaching, by working at the bedside until 2016.  Teresa has served in leadership positions in healthcare industry and academia. Her love of teaching began when she returned to school to complete her BSN after working several years as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and flight nurse. She was encouraged by wonderful faculty and mentors to pursue her MSN, then PhD, and become a nurse educator. In 2016, Teresa was awarded the Montana Center to Advance Health Through Nursing Outstanding Nurse Award for her work as a nurse educator.

Teresa engages in professional development to inform teaching, and to serve the profession. Teresa is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society; the American Association of Critical Care Nurses; the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; the American Nurses Association; the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning. She is a board member of the MT Resource Team, the Montana Simulation Advisory Board, and the American Association of Colleges of Nurses accreditation team. Teresa maintains active RN licensure in Washington and Montana.