Mercy College of Health Sciences has named Kristen Bryan Wessel, PhD, MSN, RN as the new Dean of Nursing. The appointment comes after the current Dean of Nursing, Deb Willyard, EdD, MSN, RN, announced her intent to retire at the end of the spring semester. 

“Quality, competent, and compassionate nursing education is important now more than ever, “ Dr. Wessel said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to build upon the legacy of nursing education that has been ongoing at Mercy College for nearly 125 years.” 

Dr. Wessel earned her PhD in Educational Studies with a specialization in Instructional Technology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Previously, she attended the University of Phoenix, where she completed her Master of Science in Nursing, and Morningside College, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Prior to coming to Mercy College, Dr. Wessel served as the nursing program manager at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has spent over 20 years working as an instructor and administrator for various universities and healthcare systems. In addition to her educational experience, Dr. Wessel has also held many nursing clinical roles throughout her career and has published several articles on the nursing career field. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society and the National League for Nursing. 

“I have devoted my career to the nursing profession as a bedside nurse, teacher, and administrator,” Dr. Wessel stated. “It is an honor to continue to do so at an institution with such a rich history of excellent nursing education.” 

Dr. Wessel will work alongside current nursing program chairs to support and advance the College’s nursing degree options. 

To learn more about all of Mercy College’s nursing programs, please visit