Student Wellness

As director of Student Health Services at Delaware State University, Wilmington University alumna Dr. Michelle Fisher had built a solid career based on her nursing expertise — including her MSN from WilmU.  

Dr. Michelle Fisher | Photo by Susan L. Gregg

While she certainly could have rested on her laurels, Fisher had a vision that she could do more to support students and contribute to the DSU mission. But to achieve those goals, she would need additional leadership and business skills. Fortunately, WilmU’s Doctor of Business Administration program provided a perfect avenue for expanding her skills while juggling demands of family and career.

She discovered that part of the richness of the DBA program was that it brought together managers with diverse backgrounds who shared varied insights. She also found that she was able to integrate the instructional content with her specific interests in student wellness, enabling her to conduct her dissertation research on student participation and satisfaction with campus health programs. Dr. Fisher shared the findings of her research with the DSU Health Committee, which allowed her to fine-tune their offerings. For example, she found that student participation in health events is enhanced when the events are entertaining and leverage social media.  There is no reason why wellness education has to be dull.

Clearly, Dr. Fisher’s hard work in the DBA program provided the skills and confidence necessary to achieve those goals, as evidenced by her promotion to assistant vice president of Student Affairs at DSU. Despite her broader responsibilities, she remains committed to promoting student wellness. She played a key role in a team that implemented a smoke-free campus. With this initiative, DBU became a leader among historically black colleges and universities in protecting students and employees from the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke.

What are Dr. Fisher’s takeaways from the DBA program? “Leaders need to be prepared for the unexpected,” she says. “That’s the world we live in. So we need to be constantly growing and innovating. Leaders need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

And, yes, both healthcare and higher education are industries that require business skills, though both require caring for students. Dr. Fisher will never lose sight of that. WU

—Ruth Norman