Cheryl Williams

Professional Details

Title Associate Professor
Department School of Nursing
Office Harrington Building 231
Phone 978.542.2925
Resume Cheryl Williams
Photo of Cheryl Williams

Recent and Upcoming Courses

NUR 450 Nursing Informatics
NUR 601H Honors: Nursing Research I
NUR 602H Honors: Nursing Research II
NUR 742N Theoretical Foundations of Nursing
NUR 822 Research for Evidence-based Practice
NUR 845 Healthcare Informatics
NUR 860 Curriculum Development
NUR 870N Teaching and Learning in Nursing Education Or Dimension of Nursing Ed
NUR 875 Directed Study
NUR 876 Directed Study
NUR 910N Field Experience in Nursing Education
NUR 911N Seminar in Nursing Education

Professional Biography

Hello. I eagerly accepted a full-time tenure track teaching position in the SSU MSN Nursing Education specialty track on September 5, 2015, since I wanted to teach the next generation of nurse educators. I am now entering my fourth year at SSU.

I began my career at the New England Deaconess Hospital (NEDH) School of Nursing graduating in 1979 and was employed there until 1997.  “I love nursing because you can always find something new to learn”.  In 1997, I finished my course of study at Simmons College as a Nurse Practitioner with a specialty in primary care.  As an Adult Nurse Practitioner, I have worked in many settings within greater Boston enjoying the nurse hospitalist role for its high acuity and need for evidence-based practice in real time.

Following completion of my  MSN, I realized that I could also pursue one of my initial desires; teaching.  I accepted a one-year contract to teach at Salve Regina University. During my stay in Newport, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching nursing. Over the years I have taught at UMASS Boston (UMB) and Labouré College. While at UMB, I received the Theta Alpha Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau, Pearl Rosendahl Excellence in Nursing Education Award and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers award.

While at Labouré College, I became an advocate for concept mapping as student preparation for clinical preparation rather than traditional care plans. I also chaired the Retention committee and learned a great deal about the student experience and keeping students on track to graduate. However, over the years at Labouré College, I soon realized, that while I was an excellent practitioner and enjoyed sharing these experiences with my students, I began to see the limits of my teaching abilities and became determined to obtain my doctorate. “Times had changed and the students demanded more than simple lectures and exams. Millennial students, for instance, demanded engagement, active learning, gaming and simulation methods”. Once again, I returned to Simmons College and enrolled in the Health Professions Education Degree (HPED) PhD program. There I learned how to teach and conduct research in the 21st century and was awarded my PhD in May 2015.

Professional Interests

My research surrounds how students learn.  This examination is guided by Dweck's mindset theory. Based on a cognitive psychology model, students exposed to the growth mindset model have demonstrated increased academic achievement and outlooks.  Students not exposed to the model often fear failure, self-handicap, avoid remediation and challenge, and fall victim to anxiety and depression.  The growth mindset model has been especially beneficial for non-traditional students; especially first-generation college students and students of color. Since there are many non-traditional students enrolling in nursing school today, research in this area may offer positive benefits for SSU nursing students. “If the merits seen in other disciplines are forecasted on nursing education and nursing students, improved graduation rates and increases in NCLEX-RN pass rates may only be the beginning of good things”.  

My other line of research examines how middle and high school students perceive the nursing role.  I collaborate on this project with the School of Education, my research partner is Dr. Laurie Dickstein-Fischer a former K-8 teacher and SSU school counseling faculty member.  We are particularly interested in how school counselors perceive nursing since they are in a pivotal position to influence youths interested in nursing as a career.


As a Full-time Associate Professor, I am responsible for teaching, service and research. Now also, as an Associate Professor, I a serve as a role model for junior faculty and currently lead the Professional Development Committee.

Selected Publications

Williams, C. & Dickstein-Fischer. (2018). School Counselors' Perceptions of Necessary Attributes of Middle and High School. Nursing Educational Perspectives. Accepted for publication 8/17.

Williams, C. (2018, Spring). Mindsets Matter in Education. Sextant. XXIV, 1. SSU Faculty Journal.

Williams, C. A. (2018). Mindsets May Matter in Nursing Education. Nursing Education Perspectives. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000267

Williams, C. (2017). Recruiting middle school students into nursing: An integrative review. Nursing Forum, Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/nuf.12235

Williams, C., Dickstein-Fischer, L., & Emery, H. (2017). A call for future nurses: School counselors' perceptions of the nursing role: A preliminary study. Journal of Professional Nursing, 34(1), 54-59. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2017.07.004

Williams, C., & Dickstein-Fischer, L. (2017). A National Study of School Counselors' Perceptions of the Nursing Profession. Nurse Educator, November 2017. Advance online publication. doi:10.1097/NNE.0000000000000476

Williams, C. (2016). Mindsets Matter in Education. Exchange. Journal of the New England Faculty Consortium. 29, 11-14.

Dickstein-Fischer L., Williams, C. & Emery, H. (2016). Collaboration between school counselors and nurses to enhance vocational opportunities. MASCA Counselor’s Notebook 52 (10), 5-6.

Williams, C. (1998). Barriers to Research Utilization and Publication”. Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

Williams, C. (2018). Mindsets Matter in Education. Sextant. SSU Faculty Journal. Accepted for publication 6/16

Selected Presentations


9/12/2018  Williams, C. & Dickstein-Fischer, L. (2018). National Study of School Counselors Perceptions of the Nursing Role. Podium presentation at NLN Education Summit, San Diego.

5/24/2017  Williams, C. (2017, May 24 and 25th). Two-day workshop for SSU Center of Teaching Innovation. Growth Mindset. Salem, MA.

5/19/17   Williams, C. (2017). Going Deep to Make the Grade: Effective Student Learning Strategies. SSU. Pearls and Perils Conference, Salem, MA.

3/2/17     Williams, C. (2017). Name Your Mindset. SSU. Center for Teaching Innovation invited presenter. Salem, MA.

2/21/17     Williams, C. (2017). The Five Myths of Teaching and Learning.  SSU. Professional development conference for SSU nursing faculty.

11/18/16    Williams, C. Name Your Mindset: Ready Set Teach. New England Faculty Development Consortium (NEFDC). Fall Conference. Worcester, MA.

5/2016     Williams, C. (2016, May). Mindsets are Like Grey Matter: They Matter in Education. Presentation at Salem State University, Pearls or Perils Conference, Salem, MA

2/2016     Williams, C. (2016, February). Prevalence of Fixed and Growth Mindsets in Nursing Education. American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Masters’ Essentials conference. Houston, TX.

1/2012     Williams, C. (2012, January). Concept Mapping for Faculty Development. Laboure College, Dorchester, MA.

6/2010     Williams, C. (2010, June). Concept Mapping and Labouré College- Student and Faculty Development. Laboure College, Dorchester, MA.

11/2001    Williams, C. (2001, November). Complementary Therapies: Consumer or Foe.  Presentation for Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae. Boston, MA.

6/1997      Williams, C. (1997, June). Levels of Role Dissonance in Nurses Caring for Patients with HIV/AIDS before and after and HIV/AIDS educational Intervention. Presentation at Graduate Research Day Simmons College, Boston, MA.

Posters Presentations

4/5/18     Williams, C. & Dickstein-Fischer, L. (2018). I Want to Become a Nurse Campaign: Who We Are and Where We are Going.  Poster presentation at SSU Collaboration Day. Salem, MA.

3/23/18       Rosnick, C., Colas, C., McIsaac, J., & Williams, C. (2018, March). The Make It Stick Learners Strategy Group- A Collaborative Descriptive Study. Poster presented at NLN Regional League MARILN Spring Educational Conference. Sutton, MA.

11/3/17        Williams, C. (2017). I Want to Become a Nurse Campaign: How School Nurses Can Shape Middle and High School Students’ Perceptions of the Nursing Role. Poster presented at MA Action Coalition Healthcare Workforce Summit. Fort Devens, MA.

10/20/17      Williams, C. (2017, October). Mindsets, Goals, Sense of Belonging, and Students’ Approaches to Learning. Poster presented at Regional NLN league MARILN Fall educational conference, Sutton MA.

9/15/17     Williams, C. (2017, September). Mindsets, Goals, Sense of Belonging, and Students’ Approaches to Learning. Poster presented at NLN Educational Summit. San Diego, CA.

5/4/17    Cotraro, K., Gallant, L., Stone, S., Dickstein-Fischer, L. & Williams, C. I Want to Be a Nurse Campaign. SSU. Graduate Research Day. Salem, MA.

6/2/17       Williams, C. (2017). Students Approaches to Learning: How are Students Learning? New England Faculty Development Consortium (NEFDC). Fitchburg, MA.

10/28/16   Williams, C., & Dickstein-Fischer, L. (2016, September). I Want to Be a Nurse: School Counselors' Perceptions of Nursing: An Alliance with School Counselors. Poster presented at MA/RI League for Nursing (MARILN). Sutton, MA.

10/20/16    Williams, C. & Dickstein-Fischer, L. (2016). “I Want to be a Nurse: School Counselors’ Perceptions of Nursing”. SSU Poster presented at Collaboration Day, Salem MA.

9/2016     Williams, C., & Dickstein-Fischer, L. (2016, September). I Want to Be a Nurse: School Counselors' Perceptions of Nursing. Poster presented at National League for Nursing Conference, Orlando, FL.

6/2016       Williams, C. (2016, June). Prevalence of Fixed and Growth Mindsets in Nursing Education. Poster presentation at Massachusetts and Rhode Island League for Nurses (MARILN). Spring Regional NLN Conference. Sutton, MA.

5/2016      Williams, C., R. Sacco, & Anglo, R. (2016, May). Prevalence of Fixed and Growth Mindsets in Salem State University Undergraduate Nursing Students.  Poster presented at Salem State University, Faculty and Graduate Research Symposium, Salem, MA.

5/2016     Dickstein-Fischer, L., Williams, C., Emery, H., & Herman, P. (2016, May). Middle and High School Counselors Perceptions of Nursing. Poster presented at Salem State University, Faculty and Graduate Research Symposium, Salem, MA

Personal Interests

Reading, drawing, oil painting, cooking, and walking on a beach with my dog